Is it actually a big deal to toss that plastic bottle out the car window while you drive? And, really, who cares if you didn’t pick up every scrap of trash the wild animals scattered from your unsecured trash sitting at the curb? Everybody litters a little, right?
Yes, it is a big deal. And, no, not everyone does litter. Mismanaged trash, whether intentional or not, has far-reaching impacts. It’s not just ugly. It’s dangerous to the earth, animals and humans. Let’s take a closer look at the impact!
Trash left scattered about, whether on land or in water, alters the habitat and landscape. Accumulation of man-made trash can diminish light and oxygen levels in water. This has a domino effect. As one species suffers and becomes more scarce, other species who rely on them for food or other benefits are impacted. The degradation of coral reefs (which are also living animals) has had a huge impact on marine life and broader ecosystems.
The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is a prime example. This incredible structure, longer than the Great Wall of China, is the largest living structure and is visible from outer space! It’s home to numerous endangered species, such as the Green Sea Turtle, as well as serving as the breeding grounds to many creatures, including the humpback whale. But the reef is dying due to pollution, toxic chemicals and climate change.
Chemicals from mismanaged trash, especially plastic, can leach into the environment, the soil and the water. Not only are the contaminants bad for the creatures that consume them, but they can disturb the food chain, up to and including humans. After all, as you bite into that tasty seafood dish, you are potentially consuming the harmful chemicals and trash the fish has consumed.
The Human Cost
Maybe you’re wondering what the long-reaching cost of trash mismanagement is to humans? The answer may surprise you. Abandoned fishing nets or shellfish pots can damage or wrap around propellers and get sucked into motors of marine vessels. “Ghost fishing” by derelict crab pots can capture and deplete limited resources, costing fishermen economic opportunities and income. SCUBA divers may find themselves ensnared in a fishing line or have their wetsuit or oxygen line cut by sharp debris. Medical debris (including hypodermic needles) and medical waste can spread infection, disease and shut down attractions, such as beaches and boardwalks, costing cities and small businesses alike millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Manage Waste Well
If you don’t take trash management seriously for animals or the environment, do it for yourself.
There are some easy things you can do to participate. For one, secure trash. Don’t litter. Pick up trash if you see it (preferably with a gloved hand). Pay attention to what you’re putting back into the environment, including cleaning your outdoor trash bins.
Signing up for Envirobinz Trash Bin Cleaning Services is another easy way to ensure your excess waste isn’t washed back into the waterways and soil. Envirobinz uses a specially designed process with heated water and high-pressure spray to sanitize without any chemicals. In addition to using much less water than your garden hose, the debris and dirty water is collected in a holding tank for proper disposal. For more information, call 615-368-3999 for a quote and to establish curb-side outdoor trash bin cleaning.