How many of you have littered at least once throughout your lifetime? People often tend to toss their trash randomly anywhere more often than throwing garbage in the trash bins.
First, let’s discuss what littering is. Litter is nothing more than a piece of waste or rubbish that has been disposed of improperly, but the average person produces half a pound of plastic waste every day. Littering simply means throwing away objects on the ground instead of disposing it in a garbage can or recycling bin. Litter can originate from construction and demolition sites, ships, households, industries, uncovered trucks, pedestrians, and moving vehicles. This includes trash such as paper, plastic waste, cans, bottles and more that are left lying in an open or public place.Greencoservices.com provides an article reading that in California alone, $62 million of tax payer money goes to roadside litter services PER YEAR. Another $375.2 million tax payer money is the projected annual cost to public agencies for litter prevention, clean up, and disposal. Rather than this money being put toward health care or housing it’s going toward picking up YOUR TRASH.
More than money, another major issue caused by littering is how it affects our seafood. There are multiple garbage islands in our oceans, one is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch located in central North Pacific Ocean and is said to be larger than Texas. The patches are defined as containing a higher amount of plastic as compared to surrounding oceans. Something to remember is that plastic is not biodegradable, so plastic can remain in the ocean for hundreds of years – only to break into smaller pieces over time. Think about how many people enjoy sushi and/or seafood in general. It has been well-known that the fish we eat are exposed to toxic chemicals, such as mercury in the rivers, bays and oceans they inhabit. When mercury is exposed to the ocean it immediately dissolves into the atmosphere, which can lead to mercury poisoning. But mercury is only one issue of many, the plastic in the ocean also deeply affects our sushi. Sounds crazy, right? Well, an article on www.npr.org shows that when plastic ends up in the ocean it becomes a sponge for the chemicals that are already in the water. They found that when the plastic interacts with the juices in the fish’s stomach the chemicals come off of the plastic and is transferred into the bloodstream or tissue. So not only does our community look unattractive, but our seafood is contaminated as well.
There are ways we can still help our Earth. For example, many people throw their snack rappers and cigarettes out of the window of their car rather than throwing it away. Every individual should have a small trash bag in their car. These bags provided in the following photo can be purchased on Amazon or even Walmart. Another is learning how to plant and maintain flowers along a road or sidewalk as people tend to litter less where areas have been beautified. If you are an animal lover, please take a moment out of your day to dispose of your trash properly so small animals around your home do not get harmed, as they tend to crawl inside of bottles or compact areas and get stuck and/or suffocate. You can also donate trash containers in your community and obviously, recycle when possible.
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