Murphy Point man upset with garbage littering in Misery Bay Park

George Whyte with the Misery Bay refuse he picked up.

MURPHY POINT—A Murphy Point man is fed up with balloons and other garbage littering the area.

“Last week, a two-hour walk along the shores of Lake Huron at the Misery Bay Provincial Park netted my wife and I 10 birthday balloons—many still partially filled with helium—courtesy of our friends from Alpena and Rogers City, and the other settlements along the shores of neighbouring Michigan,” wrote George Whyte, of Murphy Point in Evansville, in an email September 3.                                                 

Mr. Whyte said, “we are now averaging about a hundred balloons a summer between Murphy Point and Misery Bay. The trend seems to have started in earnest about 15 years ago when we found a fully inflated balloon with a message wishing little Mary from Alpena, Michigan a happy fifth birthday. Each year there are more and more balloons, along with plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups.”

“I can still remember my first hike along the south shore near Misery Bay as a five-year-old with my father in 1948,” said Mr. Whyte. “At that time, the only evidence of humans was the occasional wooden float from commercial fishing nets. We concentrated on looking at the wildflowers and the waves, and there was no need to carry a bag to collect the flotsam.”

“It seems like our lakes and oceans are now becoming gigantic garbage cans,” wrote Mr. Whyte. “This past June, I read an article about an autopsy in Thailand on a dead pilot whale where they found more than 80 plastic garbage bags and other plastic items in its stomach. Apparently the whale had mistaken many of them for jellyfish. And the internet is replete with photos of birds and animals that have become trapped in the floating garbage. The ocean currents northeast of Hawaii are collecting plastic like a massive toilet bowl.”

“Maybe the whole story can be summed up by another piece of garbage that we found at Misery Bay last week,” said Mr. Whyte. “It was a rubber beer sleeve with the inscription, “Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Numbers.”