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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/2/14

Trash Chucking Leads To Environmental Destruction

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Message Dennie Williams
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Walk down the street on almost any city now and look along the sidewalks or the street gutters themselves and what do you see? Cigarette butts and their filters, broken beer and liquor bottles, fast food garbage and waste paper are randomly spread with varying intensity.

Why? Smokers, drinkers and fast food eaters are not only harming their own health, but seem to care less about the appearances of the streets they walk on. Of course, if they care less about their own health, why would they care about others or the environments surrounding them daily?

"Cigarette butts contain hazardous chemicals such as cadmium, arsenic and lead that are partially filtered out during smoking. But when the butt is discarded, these chemicals leach into the environment contaminating our waterways and soil,"says

Think about it! Smoking leads to cancers and other deadly diseases. "More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history," says The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fast Food makes some fatter and others physically weaker. I quote an ABC News story: "McDonald's employees, who often take their meals at the restaurants they work in, ought to stay away from eating too much fast food, the company's McResource website warns.

"Fast foods are quick, reasonably priced, and readily available alternatives to home cooking. While convenience and inexpensive for some lifestyles, fast foods are typically high in calories, fat saturated fat, sugar and salt," ABC quotes McResource as saying.

Beer and liquor not only help make their drinkers fat, but can lead to addiction and alcoholism. Many who throw the bottles on the street are looking not only to dump them, but to avoid taking them home so family members or close friends don't know they were imbibing.

Don't believe that!? In one small town, a Litchfield, Connecticut country neighborhood, the very same empty plastic pocket-sized Gin or Vodka bottles have been garbage collected by this news reporter for decades along a road obviously leading to a local resident's home.

One day, a truck driver stopped along the road, got out and immediately told me how he was picking up his own nearby road. He exclaimed how amazed he was over the variety of even large trash items, like pieces of broken toilets, dumped by passing drivers.

Then, of course, there are the plastic and paper wrappings and coffee cups thrown out car and truck windows along all town and city roads. They may not reflect health problems of the users, but like other junk, randomly discarded by walkers and motorists, they reflect a worldwide careless, unhealthy and scary attitude.

What can be done? People who care everywhere, not only have to pick up trash in their neighborhoods, but they need to constantly speak out to warn the amateur trashers to stop arbitrary hand and vehicular dumping.

Local school administrators worldwide need to be encouraged by town and city residents to step up basic teaching to students of all ages about all hazards to local environments and to their own health.

Newspapers, magazines, television news sites and Internet news organizations need to start greater and regular in depth coverage of dangers to the environment and health. They need more investigative reporting on the government and corporate officials who permit regular and constant health threats to workers and the public.

But, why is the seemingly small time and arbitrary garbage throwing dangerous? It reflects a growing perilous and unhealthy public attitude toward the world's environment, already endangered by irresponsible oil companies, the tobacco industry, vehicle manufacturers, lax government law enforcers, as well as scores of others in positions of responsibility.

So they are the big rich boys driving the world into extinction! What difference can just a regular person without extraordinary political or economic power make?

Don't think that way! Revolt! Clean up the environment! The world needs to start at the bottom of the power base and work to influence the top. This demands that most of the responsible public begin to act proactively and speak out to others NOW! Why?! The moral values of the super rich have eroded, and are continuing to do so, big time!

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Thomas D. Williams, a freelance writer, worked at The Hartford Courant for almost 40 years before retiring in November 2005 to become an investigative freelancer on Internet news sites. He has written a unique nature book, The Spirits of Birds, (more...)
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