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First Flush

Posted By Beth Terry On October 9, 2007 @ 11:30 pm In Environmental,Expired,Garbage | 3 Comments

It’s raining tonight. I know I was going to write more about my trip to the transfer center, but it’s raining tonight. Finally. The water is coming down in sheets and our poor thirsty plants are in shock, as are we. I was going to write about something else, but all I can think about is the rain.

Our first big rain of the season is called “first-flush” because the water washes all the debris and pollutants from the land down the storm drains and into the Bay and finally the sea. I don’t know if tonight is our official first-flush, but walking home I saw rivers of water rushing along the curbs and falling into the drains. And there I was in the dark trying to untangle plastic from the grates before it was swept down.

This is the night of reckoning. During the dry days, plastic bottle caps and lighters and straws and plastic bags are merely theoretical threats to marine life. On a night like this, they become real. Tomorrow our streets will look sparkling new. We won’t see the brown water flowing beneath them or the damage we’ve caused by our carelessness. Unless we choose to look.

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