A couple of weeks ago, my family and I rented a pontoon to celebrate a birthday. As we drifted down the Milwaukee River, through Downtown and under numerous bridges, we noticed hundreds of empty bottles and cans placed on ledges located on the underside of the structures.
The sight of spent champagne bottles next to lager bottles next to liters of flavored vodkas is at first sight a joy to see because it represents how much fun has been had by boaters cruising down the river. You can almost hear the cheering of pontoon-mates that took place after the boater successfully balanced a beer can on the ledge while passing under the bridge.
Unfortunately, the jolly brings unfortunate consequences. According to Bill Graffin from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage Department, the bottles fall into the river when the bridges open and require crews from the the Lynrd-Skymmr, Milwaukee Riverkeeper and others to remove them in order to prevent water pollution.
High water levels, Graffin says, have made the ledges even more within reach to boaters, thus the problem is worse this year than previous seasons.
Plus, the bottles and cans could potentially injure people enjoying the river.
"It’s obviously dangerous for anyone boating, kayaking, or canoeing that could get hit by a falling bottle," says Graffin.
Just a few days after our voyage, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District posted to Facebook, asking people to stop placing bottles under bridges.
We love that you’re enjoying your time on the river, but please STOP placing bottles under our bridges! This picuture is... Posted by Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District - MMSD on Wednesday, September 2, 2020
"The City, MMSD and many other partners invest considerable time and resources cleaning up and trying to prevent pollution," says Graffin.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.