Thousands of petroleum-based rubber ducks are on the loose in Boulder Creek wrecking untold environmental damage.
City officials in cahoots with the rubber duck industry tried to downplay the deadly disaster as an annual pagan rite. However, these controversial festivals have been criticized by the New York Times as “plastic pollution” once organizers allow the toxic toys to escape.
Each rubber ducks weighs approximately two ounces, bringing the total weight of PVC, lead and chlorine-based products purposefully dumped into the flooded Boulder Creek to 750 pounds. Once rubber ducks have escaped into the wild, capture is unlikely.
To explain how the disaster occurred, the Boulder Daily Camera spoke with Alison Rhodes, district services manager with Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department:
The Boulder Fire Rescue dive team set up in a raft to catch the winners this year, but a lot of the ducks went past the weaker barrier and kept on going downstream.
Rhodes said officials are still trying to figure out how many of the 6,000 or so ducks that were entered into the race got past the finish line. Rhodes said in addition to ducks still out on the water, the rubber toys that have since been recovered are at several different city facilities.
“We’ve got ducks all over the place,” Rhodes said. “We’re going to continue working as hard as we can to rescue all of the ducks.”
The tragedy has divided environmentalists and animal activists, who have already sued the city, state and federal government demanding conflicting resolutions.
Environmentalists say the ducks should be humanely captured and released into the hot tubs of their volunteers, and have asked the EPA to regulate the racing industry.
Animal activists say the rubber ducks are endangered species, and should be left alone to live in peace and harmony on the creek and away from mankind.
They have petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to begin the listing process, and are demanding that a 30-mile buffer zone along the creek be declared natural habitat and all human presence removed.