Talkin’ Trash

trash3Why is it that people will throw napkins, soda cans, orange peels and every other form of trash on the ground rather than walk two feet to a trash can and place it inside said can?  I do not understand this. Every morning I walk a few laps around a park that is about ¼ mile behind my house.  It isn’t a spectacular park, but it is kind of nice, grassy with a paved track around the perimeter.  The grassy area is marked off for eight fields, and every afternoon after school, kids practice or play games of soccer or baseball.  If it has rained recently, I even see a pair of ducks somedays on my morning walks.  Sadly, I also see trash, and lots of it.  When the kids come for soccer, the soccer moms and dads also come, bringing their folding chairs, snacks, and bottles of water.  All of which is well and fine, except … despite there being several trash cans strategically placed around the park, they seem to be too tired (read lazy) to get up and place their empty water bottles, fast food wrappers, soda cans and the like in the trash cans.  This morning, I counted no less than 4 water bottles, orange peels, chip bags, napkins, a shoe, a shirt, and other unidentifiable trash on my walk.  I enjoy my morning walks, but seeing everyone’s trash diminishes the joy just a bit.

Apparently, people are just slobs.  I live in a townhouse community, and nearly every morning I find somebody’s trash on my back patio.  Nothing too bad, as a rule, but still, somebody else’s empty potato chip bag on my patio does not bring a smile to my face.  And this, despite the fact that a maintenance man spends an hour every morning walking through the neighborhood picking up trash! My home is within spitting distance of a major Interstate highway, and every day, road crews are out picking up the trash that people have thrown out of their vehicles.  Take a wild guess at who pays those people to spend eight hours a day picking up trash alongside the highway?  Yup, you got it!  You and I do.  C’mon people … is it really too much trouble to leave your McDonald’s bag in your vehicle until you stop for fuel, then deposit it in the trash can?  I have to wonder about people who have so little regard for their surroundings that they willfully throw trash on the ground … what do their homes look like?

trash1Yes, trash is unsightly and that is what got me started on this rant, but what is even worse, trash that is improperly disposed of damages the environment and disrupts already fragile ecosystems.  I read not long ago about a raccoon that had beer cans stuck on his front paws.  The cans had been there so long that by the time he was finally discovered and the cans removed, the damage was so severe that the poor little guy had to be euthanized. In my book, whoever threw those beer cans down is guilty of murder. Those plastic rings that hold six-packs of beer and soda together are lethal to animals who get stuck in them. Even something as seemingly innocuous as an apple core tossed out of a car window can be lethal to animals who may stray close to the highway, tempted by the smell of food, only to be flattened by cars whizzing by at 70 miles an hour.

trash2Ever been out walking and stepped on a piece of chewed-up gum?  Ewwwww, right?  The best way to get gum off the bottom of your shoe, by the way, is to put the shoe in the freezer for an hour or so, if you don’t mind taking a chance on your next burger tasting like sweaty feet.  But think of the duck or skunk who steps on a wad of gum.  He cannot put his foot in the freezer and probably cannot get the gum off, making it difficult for him to walk, waddle or fly.

The effects of trash is devastating to wildlife, damaging to the environment, and an eyesore to all of us.  The solution is so simple … dispose of trash properly!  It shouldn’t require a government agency, legislation by Congress, or a team of researchers to study ways to solve the problem.  All it should require is for people to have a conscience, take a few extra steps to put your trash in a trash receptacle, and teach your children to do the same!  This is actually one of the few things that we can all do to make the world a better place, yet for some reason we don’t.  Laziness?  Carelessness?  Stupidity?  I don’t know, but we all need to try to do better.  Okay … I’m done ranting, and I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

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8 thoughts on “Talkin’ Trash

  1. Litter is only part of a pervasive non biodegradable waste that we are the only species on the planet to produce.

    I am travelling in Asia at the moment, and if you think litter is bad in the US, then compound it a hundredfold and you will have some idea of how bad it is here.

    Asian countries are mostly of the third-world. Poverty is common and infrastructure nonexistent. Here, some entrepreneurs will collect up plastics and other used commodities for recycling. But the majority of waste (especially on small islands) gathers in huge rotting piles.

    I see people dropping plastic bottles, wrappers or polystyrene food containers, wherever they happen to be standing. It doesn’t matter the age of the person…they all do it. I felt outrage as I saw a man finish a bottle of water and then toss the ’empty’ under an overpass onto a pile of detritus that had obviously been there for months. But then another thought hit me… If he had put his bottle into a trash bin, (non existent in most of Bangkok), it would have later been collected and then taken to another mountain of waste elsewhere, in someone else’s backyard. I passed such a heap near the Cambodian border. It emitted the most gagging smells I have ever experienced. Likewise, in small villages around this monstrous heap, villages lived in the middle of their own waste heaps.

    The problem we really have now, is that our waste doesn’t go away. It is neither natural, nor healthy. And just because you put your litter into a bin to tidy up your own bit of the world, another bit of the world becomes more polluted.

    In reality, we have to reduce our waste…and that seems to be an even bigger problem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have certainly given me much to think about here. Interestingly, somehow I always assumed that the Asian countries were much more ‘tidy’ than we are. Obviously I was wrong. I do not know what solutions there are to the issues you have raised, but I do see that we produce more and more trash of all sorts … and it isn’t going away. I shall have to ponder on this … meanwhile, enjoy your travels in Asia!

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  2. Totally unacceptable. I don’t understand what goes on in people’s mind. It is something I told my kids from early childhood on: If you bring it with you (wrappers, bottles etc.) you take it home again (or throw it in a bin, if there is one). It mostly ends with me being the bin – my kids always hand me their empty bags or wrappers, but if there is no bin in sight, I am happy to collect them until we get home (at least then they do not end up in their jeans pockets – and eventually in my washing machine…) – I love the cartoon with the shark!! 😉 A good (and slightly more humane) punishment would also be to sentence them to spent a day cleaning up the beach/park they have littered before!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I agree … but of course the problem is that the perpetrator is rarely actually caught in the act. Interestingly, my grandson was caught littering near a river where he was fishing a couple of years ago and was fined $150! Though I had to lend him the money to pay his fine, I was still glad they fined him, because I think he is much more aware now! Basically, he doesn’t want to have to listen to Grannie lecture again 🙂 (And yes, he did pay me back!)

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  3. You touched on a pet peeve of mine. I abhor the litter on our expressways, streets, parks etc. The people in this country have become phlegmatic, lazy and have an ” I don’t care, let the next person deal with it, ” attitude. As you know we have traveled a lot and I always knew when we were back in Ohio, because of all the debris and litter every where. – Done with my rant and rave. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

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