The term waste management can include up to 20 different industries so there’s really a lot that can be said on the subject. This article, however, will focus on one area of littering and how it really does affect us, more than we think. People tend to underestimate the importance of not littering and will throw their trash wherever they see fit. Garbage pickup spend billions of dollars each year cleaning up people’s litter when those people could have just put their waste in trash or recycling bins. It’s not that hard! The city provides plenty of trash cans and there are some very simple ways that we can avoid littering.
The reason why littering really is an awful thing to do can be briefly explained in the following points:
- Makes the streets look unkempt and dirty
- Can kill animals who eat it thinking it is food
- Dangerous glass and metal particles can hurt people, especially children
- Large amount of paper can cause fires to spread
- Water can become contaminated
- Decomposing litter gives off chemicals that promote toxins in the air
So, how can we stop this wasteful littering problem?
- One person at a time
It’s going to take one person refusing to litter. This will send a message to the people you know and possible open a dialogue of why you do not litter. Hopefully, this message will spread and will go from person to person and the circle of knowledge will get bigger. This is the main problem with littering is that people are not informed of the affects of littering. If people really understood how harmful littering can be, then they probably would not do it. You can start with your own circle of friends and family and the word can spread and people can become more knowledgeable about the hazards of littering.
- Take Initiative
Make sure that there are enough trash receptacles in your community, kids’ schools, neighborhood, workplace, etc. and if not, then take the necessary steps to appeal for more. If you feel like there should be more recycling bins or regular trash cans in these areas, then you can apply to the City in order to install more. Even if it’s somewhere that is not your immediate area like at a park or a mall. You could make a difference to the environment just by asking for a few more trash cans.
- Inform People
You can ask your neighbors not to drop their trash on the ground in your neighborhood and even print out an informative flyer to distribute in your community. Get them involved to. Organize a litter pick up day to beautify your neighborhood once a month and ask the neighbors to get involved. Personal involvement helps people to remember not to litter in the weeks following a litter pick up day.
- Car Bags
One of the biggest places that people litter from is their cars. Drivers and passengers tend to throw waste out of the window because they have no where to throw it once they are in their car and don’t want to clutter up the car with trash. A great answer to this is setting up a trash receptacle in the car until you can throw it all in a bin. You could either just connect a grocery bag to your gear stick or chair arm and use that (this is also a great way to recycle and reuse a grocery bag) or you can get a container from the dollar store like a reusable cereal container and put that on the floor of your car to act as a trash can. Then, once you pass a trash can, you can empty it in to there and reduce your littering immensely.
It’s not so much that people want to destroy the world we live in. They just don’t think about it and don’t see the importance. There are people that pick up the trash for a job and they are able to keep the litter at bay in most places, so the public doesn’t really notice how bad it can get. This is good because it means cleaners are doing a good job but at the same time, maybe if people could see the affects they would stop littering.