Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gutter Buddies

Image result for new orleans mardi gras

Environmental & Science Education
Water & Watersheds
Solid Waste
Storm Drains
Edward Hessler

On February 8, I posted a piece about a gutter clean-up in Nigeria. Today, another report, this time on this side of the pond, New Orleans caught my eye.

Storm drain goalies...Gutter Goalies are everywhere and most of their stories do not ever get told or do they receive the thanks they should. For many I'd guess it is an act of kindness and service for which the thanks is in the doing. The pleasure of making streams and rivers just a little cleaner or making a street more pleasant.

I'd never thought about the refuse left from Mardi Gras, an event which is looming. "It is...a huge mess," according to an NPR report by Tegan Wendland, who focused on "the plastic beads, cups, and trinkets that fly from the floats."  Those that aren't caught become garbage in that instant, heading for a place commonly known as "away".

Wendland links to a report about cleaning the storm drains of a 5-block section of St. Charles which is on the main route. The yield was 93,000 pounds of plastic beads. That report noted that from September 26 2017 to January 23 2018 a staggering 7.2 million pounds of debris has been removed from storm drains in New Orleans.

Anticipating this year's Mardi Gras, the Department of Public Works, devised a solution that is likely to evolve over time: Gutter Buddies have been designed and are being installed.

You may see pictures of a street of strewn beads and a Gutter Buddy as well as read Wendland's report here.

People who participate in the Storm Drain Goalie program at CGEE send in post cards about their experience. Many of them include details of what was collected--kinds and heft (weight). These notes are a pleasure to read for they also include comments about the joy of doing this work.

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