Toss it on the ground

Toss it on the ground

The other day, as I was leaving a school, I walked by a group of students standing around chatting.  One of them was peeling an orange and, very purposefully, tossing the peels over her shoulder and onto the ground.  I said something to the adult supervisor in hopes he would correct the situation.  The next day, as I returned to that same school, there were the peels.  Still on the ground.

That same day, I was behind a pickup truck in traffic and saw a water bottle fly out the driver side window.

I don’t understand what people don’t understand about the law. Every state has legislation about littering to varying degrees. In North Carolina, “Intentional littering in the amount of 15 pounds or less is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 to $1,000 and up to 24 hours of community service.” The term littering also includes “organic matter.”  Littering is littering, whether it’s an orange peel or a water bottle. 

I wonder if the people I saw littering don’t know any better, or simply don’t care.  The person driving the truck would have been old enough to know better.  The student?  She may not know the legalities of it (although her parent or guardian should have taught her).  However, the blatant way she was dramatically tossing the peels over her shoulder seemed to imply she didn’t care.

That leads to a bigger question.  Why don’t people care?  I honestly don’t have an answer to this question.  Perhaps they…

  • don’t realize the impact littering has on the environment
  • think it’s just one thing, not realizing that if everybody tosses one thing, that becomes a lot
  • are lazy and don’t want to make the effort to find a trash can
  • figure someone else will pick it up
  • (I’m open to more suggestions)

We can’t make people care.  We have Earth Day, we teach Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in our schools, we have legal punishments for littering.  We can inform and attempt to enforce, but we can’t make people care.  That is a morals, values, and heart issue.  It begins at home.  We need parents who care and who teach their children to care. 

We, as the human race, need to do a better job taking care of our environment. One simple way to make a huge difference is to STOP LITTERING!

Here is some very useful information, from Tennessee, but applicable to all.