Tuesday, September 6, 2011


My family and I take a walk every evening, recently I noticed that there was a lot of trash along the sidewalk. My husband suggested that we have a police call (a police call is where everyone goes outside and picks up the trash within a designated area). That evening when we went out we brought trash bags and gloves. We ended up collect two garbage bags full of trash and one of recycling along our one mile walking route. Our three year old had a blast! You would never think a kid would have so much fun picking up trash, but it was like a giant scavenger hunt for her. She loved guessing if an item what trash or recycling and she loved to hear us cheer for her when she got the answer right!
After our police call we came home and did a little research on trash, here is what we found out:
The number one form of litter is fast food waste
Besides fast food waste the most common trash are cigarette butts, plastic bags, paper, candy wrappers, and bottle caps.
On average in one day 7 million pounds of litter are removed from beaches, lakes and streams
Animals from nearly 442 species are entangled in or ingest trash in water annually; the majority of these animals will die
People under the age of 15 are least likely to litter, people over the age of 25 are most likely to litter
In a poll conducted in 2010 people said that they litter because there is already a presence of trash, it is the easiest way to get rid of their unwanted things and because it is a social activity that they learned from their parents.
I have to tell you that some of the facts shocked me. Littering is a big no no in our house and was definitely forbidden in my home when I was growing up, it shocks me when I see someone do it so it surprised me how much litter is removed on average in a day. I was equally shocked by the fact that people over the age of 25 are most likely to litter, you would think this group of individuals would know better! The most important thing I learned was that people litter because their parents did. Children watch their parents do everything; even something as simple as tossing a cigarette butt out the window will be engrained in their subconscious and will be repeated when they are older. We must teach our children that littering is bad, and we need to do it by setting a litter free example.
Trash is gross; it belongs in a trashcan, recycling bin or compost not on the sidewalk or street. It harms animals and makes our neighborhoods ugly. I am proud to say that we have been picking up trash every night now for two weeks and we have inspired three other families on our block to do the same! When you ask my three year old what you do with trash she enthusiastic answers, “put it in the trash can!” It is our job to clean up our planet and teach our children to do the same. I heard this great quote the other day, “If every person picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 300 million fewer pieces of litter. If every person picked up 10 pieces of litter, there would be 3 billion fewer pieces damaging our environment. If you and your friends spend just one hour picking up litter in your own neighborhood, you will not only pick up thousands of pieces of trash, you will also make a tremendous impact on your community!”

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