Now or litter

Rachel Chen, Featured Columnist

An oily sheen appears to coat its surface. A purple glove haunts its corners. Aluminum cans cluster underneath the bridge. Styrofoam containers and plastic bags float until they gradually sink in the murky green water. Some days, Plano’s pond looks better than this, but that’s only because the current has pushed all the trash to one side. All the litter is still there, lurking beneath the surface.

We seem to add to it every day. People walk across the pond with their lunch and a stack of napkins catches the wind, flying towards the pond. Kids try to feed the ducks everything from bread to chips, but the ducks don’t eat all of it. Occasionally, unfinished drinks get dumped into the water. Someone leaves an empty cup on the ground instead of throwing it away, so it blows into the pond too.

I have never seen anyone deliberately throw trash into the pond, but the general apathy towards things that fall in bothers me. Aside from the few times Outdoor Ed has gone out to clean up the pond, no one seems to be doing anything to fix it. I know that people in Student Congress have asked the administration about cleaning it, but even the administration seems apathetic. From what I have heard, most people think the only way we can clean the pond is by draining it.

The rumors we throw around about the pond also show the general attitude about it. Two couches were thrown in once. Someone dumped a whole garbage can into it one year. The turtles and fish are radioactive now. You can get AIDS if you touch the water. I constantly hear people marvel at how the ducks could possibly survive swimming through it each day.

Earth Day is coming up and, more relevant to our school, so is Duck Week. We cannot drain the pond, nor can we get out all the trash that sits at the bottom. However, we can prevent more trash from accumulating.

When a plate flies off a lunch tray, we can pick it up. After eating out, we can make the effort to take a two-minute walk to the trash can rather than just leaving it on the ground next to our cars. And on that note, throwing garbage into an already filled trash can does not count. Take it to another trash can so it does not have the risk of falling out and blowing into the pond or anywhere else on campus. I also wish people could start recycling plastic bottles and drink cans, but at the very least, I hope Plano can start throwing trash where it belongs and keep it out of the pond.

I’ll admit I haven’t done much to clean up the pond despite being in Environmental Club and the Student Enhancement Committee of Student Congress, but I pick up my trash and make sure my friends do too. Let’s all do our part to try and keep this symbol of Plano clean in honor of the ducks, the Earth, and if none of that matters, then at least for the sake of not seeing  trash all over campus.