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Convenience is killing our planet
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell. - photo by Denise Etheridge

At Keep Liberty Beautiful, we are all about trash! Trash pickup, that is. Litter is misplaced trash… and that is a nice way of saying it. We really don’t like to think about the people who litter on purpose. Shame on them. They are killing our planet. Our constant need for convenience is also nailing the nails in the coffin of a healthy environment. Litter is a nasty side effect of our convenience-oriented disposable culture. We like fast food, disposable containers, throw away sacks and utensils and plastic shopping bags. All of these things and so much more make our lives so much easier, we think. 

When today’s generation was growing up, we did not walk 10 miles in the snow to get to school. Yes, we seem to be dreaming of the good old days, but there is a reason. You see, every time we have a litter cleanup, we see the spoils of our laziness and our desperate need for a fast, easy lifestyle. That need for disposability and convenience ends up on the ground far too often.

You see, back in the “old days” we did not generate this overwhelming amount of convenience litter. The items that end up as litter most often are cigarette butts (if you smoke, is it that hard to dispose of cigarette trash the right way?), straws, plastic forks and spoons, fast food bags and containers, aluminum cans (soft drinks and beer cans), and water bottles. Let us make this clear, fast food places and convenience stores are not to blame for this litter. Those of us who buy these items and through our carelessness let them become litter are to blame.

We understand what it is like raising a family when everyone is rushing in different directions every day — clubs and games and meetings and seeing friends. We all use every convenience we can to survive, but it is important that our trash does not end up on the ground or get tossed out of our car or blown out of the back of our truck. We need to dispose of that trash appropriately. So all we are pleading that if you need those conveniences then do dispose of the waste appropriately.

Just think about these facts, and we hope you will want to prevent litter as much as we do:

7 billion tons of debris ends up in the world oceans annually. Most of it is long lasting plastic. Just thinking about these “plastic islands” that are developing in the Pacific Ocean and several other oceans now sends chills up my spine.

An estimated 100,000 sea mammals and turtles are killed by plastic litter every year. They either eat it mistaking it for food or they get tangled up in it and die.

A sperm whale found dead on a North American beach was discovered to have starved to death because a plastic gallon bottle which it had swallowed had plugged its small intestine. The animal was full of plastic material ranging from other plastic bottles to 12 meters of nylon rope.

So sad and so unnecessary. Surely, our planet and its inhabitants should not have to pay such a price for our need for convenience.

 For information about upcoming community litter cleanups, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 912-880-4888.


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