Littering is harming the environment

800px-Littering_in_Stockholm

By Dveen Hagopian

One thing I have noticed is that pretty much wherever I am, I am surrounded by trash. No matter where you are, whether it be a park, a beach, or any public place, you can almost always notice at least a few pieces of trash lying around if not more. The effects of littering not only create an unpleasant and unsanitary environment, but they also harm the land and wildlife in that littered area. 

However, Littering is a very prominent issue that has an easy solution: pick up your trash. 

Littering has caused a number of problems in our modern world, the first being that it has simply caused our beautiful planet to become ugly. Although we still do have some wonderful parts of Earth that remain untouched by man, we have also managed to destroy some of what used to be our planet’s natural wonders. 

Mount Everest, for example has always been a majestic natural phenomenon, however, unfortunately it has been overcome by trash due to the littering of tourists. It is admirable to want to climb Mount Everest and become one with nature, but that becomes an issue when the natural environment is being disrespected by the very people that walk on it. 

While relatively few people take on the adventure of climbing Mount Everest, much larger populations have been to the beach or been in the ocean. The Pacific Ocean is a much more noticable example of how mankind has progressively ruined nature. Seventy-one percent of Earth is made up of oceans, with 30 percent made up of the Pacific Ocean alone. With the oceans being our planet’s largest ecosystem, and the Pacific Ocean being the largest of all our oceans, it is truly mind-boggling how we still treat it as a trash pile. What was once beautiful blue water, is now water riddled with plastic bottles and bags. 

However, the appearance of our planet is the least of our worries. Not only does our trash make our home look awful, it more importantly damages our wildlife. 

Turtles can choke on plastic straws and bags, and seals can get caught in abandoned fishing nets and drown. According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 6.4 million tons of plastic threaten marine life annually. This number is insanely high, and it can decrease drastically if each person just makes sure to dispose of their trash properly, instead of leaving it unattended. 

Other ecosystems besides the ocean are also terribly affected by our trash. Woodlands and grasslands, for example, are harmed by debris. The chemicals from trash, especially plastic, can actually be toxic to the soil, affecting plant growth and, as a result, the rest of the wildlife in that area. 

To the average student, trash on Mount Everest or in the middle of the ocean may seem too far removed from our everyday lives. However, walking through our school, especially after nutrition and lunch, we can easily see trash pretty much everywhere. An alarming amount of students leave their trash out instead of disposing of it. From juice boxes to plastic bottles to entire lunches, the litter that is all over our school clearly shows that our students do not care about our environment, whether that means nature or just the area around us. 

Our school already has lots of trash and recycling bins placed throughout campus to ensure that students have easy access for throwing away their trash. This is not administration or maintenance department’s fault. It is ours. We are the ones who need to make the decision to throw away our trash.

Students need to get into the habit of throwing away their trash at school so they learn to do it outside of school too. There are about 5,200 students at Granada, and if all 5,200 of us choose not to litter, it may not make a huge difference, but it will definitely help our planet. Or if the planet’s health is too big a concern, a clean campus equates to fewer ants, cockroaches, and other pests in our classrooms!

The Earth is a naturally beautiful place that we call home. It is irreplaceable, yet we treat it as if it is by destroying it. We should all do our part in keeping our planet clean. So, if we see trash laying around, we must make the right choice and pick it up. It will only take a few seconds for us, but it can make all the difference for our home. 

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