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 grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.