Call to Action re: Littering

I came across this image from Facebook that depicted a rabbit cadaver cut in half that showed the contents of its stomach… which consisted of cigarette butts. This was pretty surprising to me at first because I wouldn’t think animals are attracted to the smell of smoke, let alone eat it! However, I’ve seen over the years all these videos of sea creatures accidentally ingesting what humans litter (i.e. plastic bags, straws, other plastic products that are indigestible that end up just sitting in their stomachs), so sadly it’s not surprising to see that image of the rabbit today.

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if you search “litter” + “animals” it’s astoundingly disappointing how many photos you will find of these animals that fall victim to OUR litter…

I am going to graduate school for Public Health, and I think that sanitation is definitely a top priority that humans need to focus on, since we share the earth with so many animals and things of nature! It’s saddening to see that our manmade products are causing so many animals to die, either because they are being poisoned, or because they’re eating indigestible non-food products that sit in their stomach and make them think they are full so they end up starving to death, among other reasons.

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Depending on the area where you reside, there are certain laws that are in place for littering. I hear in Singapore, the laws are extremely strict about littering (and even spitting!), while in NYC, we have fines for people who litter (however, I don’t really see any law enforcement officials enforcing it…). One of our biggest problems in the city is probably our lack of trash bins that are accessible. Plus the fact that some people are too lazy to hold onto their trash or recycle/compost when needed -.- (NYC, get on the composting train!!!) After more than 20 years living in NYC, I noticed that we don’t have cigarette bins readily available for people to properly dispose of their butts, and very rarely do I see buildings provide it for their employees.

I wrote this post because I feel really strongly about people who litter… there are people who literally will not carry their trash to the garbage can that is down the block and would rather just chuck it to the curb because it’s “convenient” for them. It makes me so sad to know that our soda cans’ plastic “wrapping” is one of the leading things that choke animals. We have the power to cut that plastic so animals can’t get stuck; we have the power to buy reusable products and cut down on plastic products that often just remain on earth for eons; we have the power (and duty) to responsibly throw away our trash, or recycle, or compost when appropriate. It may not seem like much to hold onto your gum wrapper to throw away in an actual garbage can or to say no to using a straw in a restaurant, but if everyone in the world started to consciously think about what they are throwing away and how they throw it away, it would make an enormous difference!

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11 responses to “Call to Action re: Littering

  1. Worldwide problem, great post to raise awareness. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so right! How much harder is it to throw something in a recycle bin than the trash can? I wish more states/counties would adopt what we had when we lived in North Carolina. You had to pay per bag of trash you threw away but recycling was FREE! While we always recycled before, we took it to a whole new level then– recycling and composting everything, even stuff like used paper towels lol. It was only $2.25 a bag so it wasn’t necessarily a financial motive but more like our mindset changed. I couldn’t stand to pay for something that we could have for free. Thanks for writing about this important issue. The first step to change is conversation and awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think more states are starting to understand the importance of reducing waste and especially the use of plastic. NYC just passed a law that will charge $.05 per plastic bag at stores, which really is negligible in amount but it’s a step in the right direction!

      How did NC enforce paying per bag of trash, I’m curious? In NYC, garbage men will come around in the early mornings to each house and pick up the bags but I don’t think they keep track of how many bags come from which house.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We had to buy stickers to put on our trash bags and garbage cans–the large cans cost two stickers. No sticker, no pick up!

        Like

      • Hmmmmmm that’s an interesting concept! I hear in Portland Oregon they’re pretty strict about garbage and composting/recycling too; it’d be interesting to visit and see what it’s like to live there for a while!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your post! I’m looking for solutions and hoping that everyone will take personal responsibility for the trash they produce. What I’ve seen here in Honolulu is driving me crazy, it is beyond lazy, trash on the ground with a trash can within steps- that’s right not blocks, steps. We (humanity) have to change our bad habits!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s our struggle in NYC! I’ve been traveling in Europe and it’s baffling to me that we’re so behind in terms of sanitation measures in the US. In Madrid, Barcelona, and in Paris, they all have giant receptacles for regular, recycle and compost trash that neighborhoods can put their garbage in–meanwhile our streets in NYC only have the standard size trash cans that people still don’t even utilize -.-!

      If you come up with ideas or if Honolulu starts new sanitation measures I’d be interested to learn more 🙂

      Like

  4. This is a fantastic article! I’m not sure if you aware but cigarette littering is the most littered item in the world and often what happens is that the animals mistake the butts for food- hence the photos, which I agree are very saddening. The worst thing about littering is THAT IT IS PREVENTABLE! And it is only out of our sheer laziness. The laws in Singapore are quite tough and well enforced, I’m not sure if you aware but in most countries littering is considered illegal and fines apply for littering, in Australia littering is illegal and we to have fines. However often many people are unaware of this fines and rarely they are enforced. I actually have a blog that aims to educate people about the environmental impacts of cigarette littering as well as providing a range of solutions to prevent littering. I believe that educate is key, the more we can educate people about the problem the more that can be done! If your interested please have a look at my blog, Twitter or Facebook and let’s keep spreading the message!
    https://stubstituteblog.wordpress.com
    https://www.facebook.com/stubstitute/?ref=bookmarks
    https://twitter.com/stubstituteblog

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I completely agree with you about the littering aspect affecting our wildlife 😦

      In NYC there are fines for littering, but it’s hardly, if ever, enforced which is so disappointing. There are even signs in the city warning people of the fines they’ll incur if they litter, but no one takes it seriously since (in my opinion) these people can litter and there may not be law enforcement officers who are there to fine them, or it’s possible the officers don’t even bother to address this issue if they do see it 😦

      Thank you for sharing the links to your pages! It’s a great campaign that you are doing and I hope it can become more widespread, not just locally. Your blog is great, I’ve started to follow 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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