We Like It Clean, So Please Help Us Keep It Clean
We are so incredibly thankful to have an amazing team of volunteers who help pick up garbage on a regular basis. We see and appreciate their work every time we see a litter free landscape. But we’d all love it if there were less rubbish to collect. And you can help.
A Note on Rubbish
Some people may think it is just one cigarette butt or one coffee cup. They might ask, “is it really that big of a deal?” But it adds up. And where does it all add up? It ends up all over the place, from the great ocean garbage patches to your own backyard. Because when lots of people start to think that it is just one piece of trash, we end up with lots of pieces of trash, choking our wildlife and natural areas.
Trash Closer to Home
The problem with pollution starts at home. From nature trails to the woodlands, the sad reality is that it can be harder and harder to get to a place where some sign of humans hasn’t been left behind. Maybe it is a soda can here, or a candy wrapper there, or a cigarette butt negligently left behind. It is what we see every day.
And it is also what our volunteers pick up every day. They will tell you first hand, that it isn’t just one piece of trash they have to pick up, but lots of pieces of trash. In fact, to give you an idea, the World Wide Fund for Nature has reported 1.5 million tons of waste from plastic bottles alone, which is just one kind of trash that we see during our cleanups.1
And the impact of litter and pollution can go far beyond just the item left on the forest floor. Often times, there can be chemicals or other man-made substances that get absorbed by the soil. This can have all types of impacts on animals that may then get those chemicals into their system.2
Or maybe the wildlife will accidentally eat a piece of plastic. This can’t be digested, and often times just blocks up the animal’s digestive system until they slowly starve to death.
1 Sciencing.com. The Effects of Littering on the Environment & Animals; April 17, 2018. Available at https://sciencing.com/harmful-effects-plastic-waste-disposal-5591699.html.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
That litter that we see in our backyards doesn’t always stay there either. It can get washed into storm drains, rivers, streams, and other waterways, all of which eventually make their way to the ocean. Here, they can collect into true environmental catastrophes. Returning to a discussion of just single-use plastics, it is estimated that between 1.15 and 2.41 million tons are entering the ocean each year.3
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an example of this. It is an area twice the size of Texas, where the trash and litter that has made it to the Pacific Ocean collects. So while the trash that accumulates in our back yard is what we see the most, the truth is that the devastating impacts of pollution go much further than just what we can see in our back yard.
From our back yards, to the rivers that connect our communities, to the oceans that absorb those rivers, pollution can be found in all of these environments. It can wreak havoc on the local biology, endangering wildlife and forever changing the environment that was once pristine.
Sadly, there seems to be fewer and fewer spaces in our world that are still completely pristine anymore. Too many have been impacted by the things humanity leaves behind. Too much of it has to be collected by our volunteers.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the problem. And beyond that, we hope that understanding is the first step towards you helping us keep things clean. Our volunteers do great work, yet we would not be sad if society became better with its rubbish and our volunteers had just a little bit less to pick up.
We like our environment clean, so please help us keep it clean.
3 Forbes.com. 300-Mile Swim Through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Will Collect Data on Plastic Pollution; May 30, 2019. Available at https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2019/05/30/300-mile-swim-through-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch-will-collect-data-on-plastic-pollution/?sh=63f912e6489f.