Our time on the water is a great way to get away from the daily grind and enjoy the outdoors. Many of us find peace on the water, whether we are paddling for fitness, trying to catch fish or simply enjoying the scenery.
That being said, more often than not a trip on the water involves passing more than a few pieces of floating garbage. Water bottles, potato chip bags and used containers of squid bait are a frequent sight on the water. As paddlers, it is important that we respect the natural resources that are around us.
Litter such as fishing lines, hooks, rotting food and plastic are not only an eyesore on the water, but can also be hazardous to wildlife and even people. Monofilament lines can exist for hundreds of years in the water. I have seen too many kayak fishermen gut their catch and leave the refuse on shore, leaving me to pick it up!
It is our obligation as paddlers to help keep the water clean. Bring a plastic bag the next time you go out on the water. You can put your refuse in it as well as pick up passing pieces of litter. Making it a family event can teach your children lessons about conservation and not wasting resources. That one grocery bag that we all occasionally pass on the water can end up in the stomach of a seal that mistook it to be a jellyfish.
We can all contribute. Picking up trash here and there will greatly protect our waterways and ensure that they remain accessible and pristine for years to come.