Littering: how does it really affect us?

by RACHAEL FEIL

Staff Writer

Litter photoImagine you are eating lunch in the park on a beautiful day over the weekend. The sun is shining bright in the sky, the birds are chirping in the trees, and you just feel so peaceful, when suddenly BAM! you get an emergency text from your friend and you just HAVE to meet her at her house in five minutes. Your immediate reaction is to get rid of the food and zip right over to her house, but the trash can is far away and in the opposite direction. What do you do? Do you take the extra time to jog over to the trash can and dump all of your trash, then grab your stuff and head home? Or do you just nonchalantly walk away from your garbage that you left on the park bench and never look back? It’s quite tempting to pick the easy way and leave your garbage sitting there on the bench…

…but what does that do to our community? It makes it appear trashy and messy and unclean. That alone should motivate people to pick up after themselves. Litter deflects from the raw beauty of nature. It also attracts vermin and bacteria, which is hazardous to our health.

If that, however, isn’t enough, then consider the innocent lives of the animals inhabited in your community. Little birds and cute, fuzzy squirrels could choke on the trash left over from people’s meals and snacks when they mistake the wrappers for food. Small bits of plastic could accumulate in birds’ stomachs and never digest, decreasing their food capacity and gradually leading them to starve. As for little ocean critters, 9 billion tons of litter are dumped into their home every year. Litter is polluting their habitat and gradually ruining their home. How would you feel if someone defiled your home?

It is possible that every single person on this planet has been guilty of littering at some point in their lives. On a recent survey posted on statisticbrain.com, 75% of the people admitted to littering in the past five years. $11.5 billion has gone towards litter cleanup, a large compilation of our tax money.

Litter is something that can easily be prevented, if everyone is willing to do their part. Here at El Diamante, there are trash cans all over campus and recycle bins in every classroom. These means are graciously provided by our school to help keep it clean, but I couldn’t help but noticing that there is room for lots of improvement. Nadia Fahoum, a junior here at El Diamante, said, “We all need to take care of our environment. By littering, we are just ruining it.” There is NO excuse to not pick up your trash–plus, it might reduce the amount of seagulls that fly over us during lunch and threaten us with their “ammo.” Take an extra 10 seconds to properly throw it away. It benefits everyone, from the little critters down to us. It will also help preserve all the nature surrounding us, and who wouldn’t want that?

Littering may not seem like a huge deal, but it can greatly affect the environment. Be that person who takes the extra time to jog over to the trash can and dump all of your trash before heading off to your friend’s house. Encourage those around you to do the same. It will make you feel fantastic inside and, at the same time, protect our environment. What more could you ask for?

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