Not only am I a gardener, but I am also a tree-hugger, lover of nature, and HATE litter. I used to volunteer to pick up garbage in the national parks back home in my free time. Littering really ticks me off. People invented garbage cans for a reason. Use them. I have seen people litter in other states and it makes me angry and disgusted, but the AMOUNT of littering I have witnessed since I have been in Texas has me dumbfounded, floored, perplexed.
OK, I don't get it. I really don't. Texans seem so proud of their state, but yet every day I see people throwing garbage out the windows of their cars or leaving trash on tables in the park or just littering in general like it is no big deal. What is up with that? I am seriously outraged. I have never seen so many people with such disregard for their State. I am quite sure most Texans would never think to do such a disgusting thing as to dirty up their state, and that a few bad apples are causing the bulk of the damage, but the disregard for the environment I have seen lately is just plain sickening to me.
A couple days ago - ALL IN THE SAME DAY - I witnessed:
- A mother turn around in her car at a stoplight and apparently instruct her child to throw garbage out the window. The window opened, the child bent down to grab garbage from the floor (as the parent pointed out directions),and proceeded to roll it up into a large wad (fast food bag and its contents, I think), leaned back to get a good angle, and chucked the entire thing out the window WITH the parent watching. UN-Believable.
- A young man man throw a filled super-size plastic soda container out of his moving vehicle into the median full of wildflowers.
- A person in a shiny new BMW pitch an unknown wad of refuse out the window on the highway.
- An AMBULANCE driver throw empty fast food containers out the window while driving. An Ambulance Driver! WTF?!?
- Any number of people throwing cigarettes out the window into the crispy-critters median. We are in a critical drought people! That could start a fire!! Not to mention it takes 25 years for a cigarette butt to decompose. Morons.
- The pre-teen kids that rode their bikes in front of my house throwing construction paper bits every which way. I yelled at them - I am sure I will be receiving an egging in a day or so...
- The neighbor kid who eats Popsicles from the Popsicle man and throws the garbage in the wash. I saw her go for the drain with some garbage one time and told her to go put that in the garbage where it belonged - in the trash, not the drain, and proceeded to explain to her why you should not throw garbage in the drain. I have seen the parents yell at her for throwing garbage in the drain too. So at least there's that...
- Garbage left on a park table with the garbage can at the END OF THE TABLE, not but 3 feet away. How lazy can a person be? I mean seriously!(and yes, of course I threw out the garbage for them)
ALL of the above witnessed in ONE day. ONE. It pissed me off and inspired this blog posting. Have some respect for your neighborhood, city, and country people.
I have begun turning people in. Learn how to turn in a litterer HERE
Just some random facts about approximately how long it takes for ordinary objects to biodegrade/photodegrade(assuming they are not buried in a landfill and are just strewn about):
Biodegradable: capable of decaying through the action of living organisms.
Photodegradable: capable of being broken down by light.
Paper napkins, 1 year
Newspaper, 5 years
Plastic Coated Paper, 5 years
Plastic bags, 10-20 years
Cigarettes, 25 years (butts are made of plastic, NOT of cotton and paper)
Nylon fabric, 40 years
Styrofoam, 50 years
Tin cans, 50 years
Plastic six-pack rings, 100 years
Plastic Cups, 250 years
Aluminum cans, 200-500 years
Glass bottle, 1 million years
It takes a long time for things to decompose. Please do not throw things out your window or into the wash.
Why shouldn't you throw trash out windows of cars or into washes you ask? A number of reasons:
1) Throwing trash and food out the window attracts animals to the roadsides where they may get hit. Also, animals gets their heads stuck in bottles and cans and also in the plastic 6 pack rings used to hold them together.
2) People and animals cut their feet on the broken glass and other garbage.
3) It costs billions of dollars of your tax money to clean it up.
4) Littering brings down the property value of your neighborhood.
5)Discarded cigarettes start wildfires - Smokey the Bear says 'Only You Can prevent Wildfires!'
Read a scanned copy of the 60's Smokey the Bear comic (I really dig this comic by the way)
6) Everything eventually ends up in rivers and streams and from there makes its way to the ocean.
Read about the plastic ocean twice the size of Texas HERE and HERE
7) It is unsightly and disrespectful. Plastic bags DO NOT look pretty hanging from trees and bushes.
8) Do you want to drink water filled with garbage or clouded with chemicals? Walk along park paths filled with garbage? Eat fish filled with plastic particles? Play on a beach full of trash? Risk your house being burned down by a wildfire caused by a flicked cigarette? I didn't think so.
Have pride in your state. Don't Litter! Would you be proud of your home if it were covered in garbage? Of course not! Then why would you be proud to have people visit your state when it is covered in litter? Stop throwing garbage out your window!! Please use garbage cans and always keep a bag for garbage in your vehicle. If you see garbage, pick it up. Texas IS your state, and it IS your problem.
Texas is a beautiful state and I would like to say I am proud to live here - please keep it clean.
As Woodsy the Owl would say "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute"