Monday, February 28, 2011

Van Saun Park. Bergen County, New Jersey. Humans Litter the Park. Human Trash.

In spite of the rain in the morning, this Monday turned out to be a very welcome prelude to Spring. I believe that the temperature hovered around 57F with the rain stopping in the early afternoon.

I took my dog, Fidelma, to Van Saun Park for a long walk and she had a wonderful time. We strolled for an hour and a half, in a circuitous route, as usual, with the wet ground having no dilatory effect on her. We're back to old form, and it isn't truly Spring yet. The green lily that grows on Washington's Spring including the resulting stream was as green as ever, as it had been throughout this Winter. I suspect that the spring water is warm.

The afternoon wasn't as beautiful and reassuring as I had wanted it to be. I walked around Walden Pond and took these photos of its southern end, the end at which the pond drains across and underneath Howland Avenue. The heavy rains of the morning raised the level and the volume of the pond. Consequently, loose branches and leaves sailed down the stream that feeds the pond from the North. Unfortunately, this action also swept all the trash downstream and it pooled around the southern end.

Take a look at the photos, and you will realize how human trash is already hurting the park's ecology. There were plastic bottles, Styrofoam bits, paper products, plastic bags. On the western shore of Walden Pond, I saw an empty bottle of liquor, floating because someone left the cap on. Imagine how many other liquor bottles are underwater? And alcoholic drinks are not allowed in the park. This is all so very disgusting. Walden Pond, in this condition, is a microcosm of our compromised natural world. This is incontrovertible evidence that humans can trash any environment, given the opportunity.

How did all this trash get in the water? A lady who spoke to me suggested that it looked like the trash bins were tipped over into the water---doing her best to explain the problem. Well, I don't think so. In my many years of visiting Van Saun Park, I know that the park employees do a good job at collecting and emptying the trash bins. In the Summer, that is usually done on Monday mornings, just the day that I actually go to the park.

Summer weekends are the busiest times of the year with family outings and company get-together taking place at pavilions in the park. I avoid the park on weekends because I get the impression that I am witnessing the rape of a beautiful woman by barbaric men. By Monday morning, I find the park in its recovery stage, visited by people who seem to enjoy the park's natural and healing qualities rather than its recreational aspect.

I believe that the trash you see in these photographs were deliberately thrown into the stream or pond. The trash left behind on solid ground, you don't see. As I said, those are swept up by the park employees on Monday mornings.


Catherine said...

Washington Spring looks beautiful now. Around those bridges, there used to be a lovely sun-dial which someone vandalized (only half of its post remains).

Isn't it a tragedy how reckless humans are, and that so many geese were slaughtered in parks in part because their 'waste' was spoiling the eco-system. Water, the giver of life, is teeming with the remainders of our 'convenience, on-the go society.' Not so convenient for those who depend on it.

The Hackensack Riverkeeper cleanups start in April, at least giving citizens a chance to clean up some of this mess in various public parks.

Chessbuff said...

You know, Catherine, this river clean-up is something I need to get done myself. I learned about it from you, heck, several years ago but I have not participated in it yet.

What I forgot to mention and neglected to take photos of is the trash that lined the shore of the pond. The photos showed the trash that pooled in the middle of the water. Walking along the pond, I could see plastic trash along the shore like they were ships moored along the coast. We are such a destructive species.