In an effort to remove plastic from the environment before it reaches the ocean, a crew organized by Northwest Ecotours and All Depth Charters and supported by Newport Surfrder removed 500 pounds of mostly styrofoam from the Yaquina River on Saturday, March 6th. Dahl Disposal of Toledo donated their services to dispose of the haul.

The site, aptly named ½ Way Park, is an estuary halfway between Newport and Toledo on the north side of the Yaquina River. Large pieces of styrofoam from docks in various stages of deterioration have been washing in on high tides for years. The slough was littered with chunks of styrofoam from 10 feet long to gravel sized. Even though it is seven miles from the ocean, these pieces would have ended up in the marine environment eventually.

Thanks to the work of a group of hardy volunteers, 500 pounds of styrofoam won’t find it’s way into the ocean. But our capacity for cleaning up such messes is limited.

The long-term solution will be finding environmentally friendly alternatives to styrofoam and other plastics. Multiple efforts at local, state, and federal levels are now underway to limit plastic production and make producers responsible for their products. It’s time to get involved.

On the cleanup side of things, if you have a group that needs help with identifying a site, supplies, disposal, or other organizational problems, feel free to reach out to Newport Surfrider for help. Contact information is available on the chapter website, or email chair@newport.or.surfrider.org.