By Joel Ayala and Colin Walker
Granada Hills Charter is like our second home. We spend most of our day here on campus for academics, sports, clubs or all three. It really is a privilege to come to a safe school to receive a great education that will lay the path for our future. However, many students on campus abuse this privilege by leaving any surface you can think of enveloped with garbage. It really is a sad sight to see the beauty of our school overshadowed by the pollution of trash all over our campus.
Recently the issue of littering has grown so out of hand that campus aides have had to block off some parts of the quad to try and control the growing issue. All it takes is one person in your friend group to decide to leave their trash to start a domino effect.
Our students’ actions have inevitable consequences as areas continue to be blocked off due to this rather silly issue. Although it would be sad to see the spot where you spend nutrition and lunch blocked off because of such a careless decision made by you or your friends, there are larger consequences at work as well.
The trash that we decide to leave at our hangout spots gets into the planters of our trees and harms our wildlife. The trash left on our campus can be ingested by squirrels and seagulls causing permanent health issues.
Leaving trash also illustrates disrespect for our hard working custodians who are here to maintain not only the beauty of our school but also its functionality. They are not here to clean up after us or babysit us. We should treat the building and grounds workers who maintain our campus with respect by picking up the trash we discard. We have 16 hard working custodians on our campus that work during the day and night to keep our campus looking as pristine as it does when you enter the campus each day.
Facilities Manager Tim Park is in charge of the custodians on both the Zelzah and Devonshire campuses. Park also helps our custodians in cleaning up our school grounds. On many days our custodians have to work overtime to keep our campus sanitary.
“If one person picked up one piece of trash it would make a big difference,” Park said.
We are not asking students to pick up other people’s trash. Instead, we ask simply that students be responsible for their own trash. Our custodians should be able to focus on fixing electrical issues and other building issues, and otherwise maintaining our over 60 year old buildings. They should not have to spend so much time picking up what we are too lazy to do ourselves.
In previous years, the administration has taken away nutrition breaks to penalize students for not picking up trash and to incentivize them to be good citizens.
“It is true that in the past we had to minimize the time of nutrition because the trash issue was getting out of hand,” Park said. “But this is unfortunate because the breaks that students get are very important because that gives them time to decompress and hang out with friends.”
The breaks that we get on campus are very important to all of us. It is refreshing to get out of class, have time to relax, and not worry about work. It doesn’t hurt to be a leader in your friend group to make sure that everyone is responsible for their trash. That way, we can all continue to enjoy our break time during school.
At school, we are building habits of leaving trash everywhere that will carry with us when we are adults. The United States spends about $11.5 billion dollars each year cleaning up trash throughout the states, according to a KAB Litter in America study. The U.S. is also currently the largest trash producer in the world. It may not seem like a big deal leaving your school lunch on the floor, but these actions are influencing those around us. One of the biggest causes for littering is being careless or lazy.
We take advantage of our custodians, expecting them to clean up every mess we make. But this asks the question, what if our custodians didn’t clean up our trash? I’m sure some of us would be disgusted with ourselves, seeing the junk that we left for someone else to clean.
I would not want to go to a school filled with trash at every corner. We should strive to keep our second home clean. It is not hard to take 10 seconds of your day cleaning up trash to make a greater impact on the environment of the school.
Our school is only as great as we make it. Let us get rid of our careless attitude and take time out of our day to throw our trash away. Such little things can have a positive impact on our school.