Plastic Pollution along Jones Falls

The environmental detriment I chose is the overt plastic pollution I’ve noticed alongside the Jones Fall trail, a sleepy one-lane road that connects uptown and downtown Baltimore. As highlighted by the abandoned trolly stations along the route, the road used to be the vital artery into the city before the multilane Jones Falls Expressway eclipsed it. The road runs adjacent to the Jones Falls waterway, which starts at Lake Roland and deposits into the Inner Harbor. Despite losing the gridlock, the river and embankments still bear irrevocable scars of detritus, algal blooms and plastic pollution. To me, biking down the Jones Falls Trail wasn’t an exercise in seeking out environmental problems; it was realizing that the bygone route I often travel is permanently defined by its ubiquitous plastic. The two pictures I selected are some of the most harrowing examples of this realization. The natural areas that once enwreathed the path and river have become spotted with plastic pollution. So close to a river, the plastic is likely to leech into waterways, interfere with wildlife or sweep away in high tide. The omnipresent plastic—like the road itself—is a painful reminder of the permanence of the past. 

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