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Confetti toss graduation photos cause concern for the environment

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Environmentalists are troubled by the increasing popularity of confetti toss graduation photos, which cause the substance to wash into the San Marcos River.

Confetti used for graduation photos can be extremely harmful to the 12 endangered species currently inhabiting the San Marcos River, according to local environmental experts.

“Everybody can have an important part in protecting the river,” said Colleen Cook, environmental health safety specialist at Texas State. “Very few people realize the unique environment that we have here and how lucky we are to have it.”

She said anything on the ground will end up in the river, and confetti is something endangered species shouldn’t consume.

“The easiest thing people could do is take a dust pan and just sweep it up,” Cook said. “There are plenty of trash cans around campus and it really takes just a matter of minutes.”

Dianne Wassenich, San Marcos River Foundation program manager, suggests throwing something such as flower petals or bird food instead of confetti or glitter.

Cook said protecting the river is extremely important because endangered species are federally protected. Residents love to use the river for recreation and nobody wants to swim in dirty water.

She said the “What Goes Here Flows Here” campaign can help prevent pollution.

“The university and city find it necessary to do everything they can to improve their storm water—the water that flows directly down into the river,” Wassenich said. “Part of that improvement process is this terrific, wonderful and very much needed educational outreach program.”

Wassenich said the university constantly has new students who might not understand the importance of the river. A campaign such as “What Goes Here Flows Here” will help educate students on the need to keep the river clean.

“The program helps residents, students, and the campus community realize how important this river is to everyone,” Cook said. “The river has been here for hundreds of years and we want it to be here a hundred years from now.”

Cook said the river’s beauty is appealing to the community and must be preserved.

“Texas State prides itself on its beautiful campus with a river running through it,” Cook said. “It really is important for students and residents to take care of it.”