The Problem Of Littering In America

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Our Earth recycles everything and reuses the material from dead plants and animals to feed new plant life and make new soil to replenish itself. Humans should learn from Mother Nature and recycle everything. If they don’t, they will die off and also kill animals, including marine life, since things are dumped even on beaches and in oceans. More and more waste that is not biodegradable is dumped into landfills and is going to drown everyone in waste, if they are all not first killed off by the gases that are being emitted. There is a simple way that anyone can help: recycling.

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One of the harmful things happening from many not recycling is pollution. The website tells us that recycling can reduce pollution by reducing manufacture of fresh materials, littering and landfills, and avoiding incineration. Many specific contaminants such as dust or metals, can pollute the surrounding land and water during mining, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recycling can help reduce these sources of air, land and water pollution.

The garbage is piling up and if things don’t get recycled, people could “drown” the Earth in garbage. The website let us know that Environmental Protection Agency collects and reports on the amount of municipal solid waste Americans generate to benchmark the success of existing waste reduction and recycling programs. For example, in 2014, residents produced 258 million tons of municipal solid waste, with recycled and composted materials representing about 89 million tons. About 33 million tons underwent combustion with energy recovery, which means the waste was turned into usable energy for fuel, heat and electricity. About 136 million tons went to landfills. Without recycling and combustion with energy recovery, all 258 million tons would have filled landfills and begun to pile up. If people can recycle even more, this number can continue to decrease and not swallow the world in trash.

A final awful effect not recycling is having is on our marine life. Plastic bags are one of the most common garbage items on beaches. They start out as litter on the beach or surrounding areas and are quickly swept up in storm water runoff, leading to secondary waterways, and eventually ending up in the ocean. The website informs us that sea creatures, such as the sea turtle, can confuse the bags for food. The bags floating underwater look like jellyfish and sea turtles eat jellyfish. The sea turtles are eating the plastic bags by mistake. A study done by the EPA showed that more that 50% of dead turtles have plastic bags in their stomachs. The bags block their digestive track, which creates buoyancy and forces them to float. They cannot then dive for food and end up starving to death. Unfortunately, it is not just sea turtles. It has been estimated that nearly all marine life has directly or inadvertently ingested plastic and a study from Against Waste estimates that plastic marine debris kills over 100,000 turtles and mammals every year.

The conclusion is people overall need to pay more attention to recycling and what each individual can do to help. Any small thing by each person can make a huge difference in the long run. Less landfills and pollution, less gases emitted into the air and helping marine animals to survive would be some great things everyone can do to help our Earth.

14 May 2021

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