Written by Christina Handley, Board Member with the Glade Run Lake Conservancy
Glade Run Lake is a natural gem in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Whether you are kayaking or boating on the serene 52-acre lake, hiking the wooded one-mile loop trail that gently meanders along the lake's tranquil shore, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty of the park, many would agree this preserved natural area is a valuable asset to our local community and region.
Since the lake was restored in 2017, attendance has steadily increased as more people learn about the many recreational opportunities the lake provides. And though it's great to see new people enjoying Glade Run Lake, more visitors can mean more litter, resulting in added concern for the health and beauty of the lake as well as its plant and animal inhabitants.
Litter is an issue in many places, not just in local parks. All over our planet, litter is a significant problem. The United States alone produces 292.4 million tons of waste per year, or 4.9 pounds per person per day according to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2018. A continuous study by Keep America Beautiful found that 50 billion pieces of that waste result in litter, polluting our roadways and waterbodies. Researchers estimate that litter contributes to 60% of water pollution, resulting in negative impacts to important places (like Glade Run Lake).
Not only does litter detract from the beauty of a natural area, it's also dangerous and often lethal to wildlife. Additionally, litter contaminates soil, limits plant growth, and decreases oxygen levels in water when it decays, causing stress to aquatic life. When oxygen levels become too low, fish and other aquatic organisms cannot survive.
Litter is also very costly. The Environmental Protection Agency reported that the U.S. spends an estimated $11.5 billion per year just to clean it up! To try and keep Glade Run Lake free from litter, the Glade Run Lake Conservancy (GRLC) uses our limited resources, time, and funds in hopes of protecting the flora, fauna, and beauty of the area. However, this work takes away from the GRLC's overall mission and other efforts by our board of directors.
In the past, the GRLC has organized several clean-up events. Unfortunately, these efforts have not prevented or significantly reduced litter pollution in the park, which is why the GRLC is in need of your help and support.
Glade Run Lake Conservancy board members and volunteers participate in litter clean-up days at the park.
Bottom line: Litter negatively affects all living things on earth and is an issue both globally as well as locally. Litter is a result of bad behavior by humans and is a completely avoidable problem, yet it's only getting worse. How heartbreaking it is to see litter polluting the places that we treasure, places like Glade Run Lake.
The good news is that litter can be an easy problem to remedy! All it takes is someone to Pick It Up! Every day, the average person walks or drives by 12,000 items of litter. Imagine what would happen if every person chose to Pick Up some of that trash instead of just passing it by.
Hudson Yocum, age 5, picks up litter at Glade Run Lake. He enjoys visiting the park a few days each week.
Yes, it's that simple! Each of us has the power to reclaim our natural areas and resources from litter pollution. So, let's start right here in our own community. Next time you visit Glade Run Lake, bring a bag and Pick Up any litter you see. (Make sure to dispose of your collected litter at home since the park does not provide trash receptacles.) You will be doing a great service that will make you feel good and will benefit the park and all of its plant and wildlife residents.
Let's all work together to Pick It Up!