DALLAS – Plastic bags and bottles are practically ubiquitous across the region, but the ugly fact is many of them end up in North Texas creeks and lakes.
The City of Dallas and the Tarrant Regional Water District have launched an awareness campaign called Reverse Litter, meant to turn around this litter trail so the tons of trash end up in cans rather than polluting waterways.
Last May, heavy, steady rains flushed creek beds and left a thick layer of trash hugged the eastern shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard near Rowlett, illustrating the severity of the problem.
Although Dallas is responsible for the lake and cleaned it up, the city says the debris washed down Rowlett Creek from Plano, Garland and Rowlett. There's a similar problem in Tarrant creeks and reservoirs.
Volunteer clean up efforts help, but they aren't sustained. So the city pitched in nearly $1.1 million Wednesday along with $1.2 million from the water district for a media campaign urging people to toss trash responsibly.
Dallas City Councilwoman Linda Koop supports the initiative.
"I think we need to continue to have public education on why we don't litter and what happens when you do,” she said. “It gets into our wastewater and our streams. It also affects the wildlife around the streams, they get entangled in the plastic bags and it's a real problem."
Dallas and the Tarrant water district serve about 4.3 million people in North Texas and the ad campaign on radio, TV, billboards and public spaces will urge them to be part of the solution.
This isn't just about unsightly trash –– it's also about managing storm water and the state requires this kind of plan.
Look for the media campaign to ‘Reverse Litter’ to start next month.