I just don’t get it. Why do people litter? Why do they throw trash on the ground and expect someone else to take care of it? Who raised them?
Gary and I were watering the flowerbed across from the DQ and I stood there looking around at the litter on both sides of the road. I know things occasionally fall off of trailers or fly out of the backs of pickups. I know the wind might jerk something out of your hand. But come on folks- I’m talking about trash that has obviously just been dropped on the ground with no thought, no remorse. How could you treat your neighbors like that?
Litter is a waste of our time, money, and resources. It gives visitors a bad impression of our state. It sends a terrible message to our children and grandchildren. It threatens wildlife habitats. I checked the ODOT site and here are a few other facts about litter:
· The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) spends more than $4 million per year to pick up litter.
· It costs more than $63 per mile for state highway departments to remove litter.
· Sixty percent of litter is deliberate.
· People litter when they feel no sense of ownership.
And don’t think you are excused if you just toss out a cigarette butt now and then. I found out the impact of cigarettes when I worked during Trash Off. Cigarettes are extremely difficult to clean up because of their size, and they are NOT biodegradable. I found this on the Keep Americal Beautiful website:
“The cigarette filter is cellulose acetate, a man-made fiber spun to look like cotton thread. These fibers break down very slowly, sometimes taking years. Cellulose acetate may degrade in time, but it is not biodegradable. One research report states that 18 percent of all litter dropped to the ground is washed into streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean by stormwater runoff. Cigarette butts are little and lightweight —they are easily carried with this runoff into our waterways. As the wind and rain carry it along, it catches in flower gardens, grass and open spaces. That’s when children, our pets, and wildlife find it. The fibers in a cigarette filter and the remaining tobacco contain several residual alkaloids, including nicotine, posing a health problem for wildlife when ingested.”
Remember, sixty percent of litter is deliberate. This is something you can help to change. You can become more aware of the impact of litter. You can tell your friends about it. You can stop, today, and vow to never litter again. You can teach your children not to litter. Even if you don’t care about the visual impact of litter, think about the money. I challenge you to find out how much your state spends on litter removal. Help stop the waste. Help Keep Oklahoma Beautiful! Help Keep America Beautiful! Don't litter!