Desert Waste-land

Cardboard boxes left in the desert area next to school.

Samantha Salazar

Cardboard boxes left in the desert area next to school.

When driving on our desert roads, it is very likely you’re going to see trash either dumped in one spot or spread throughout the desert landscape. People often leave items such as: furniture, wrappers, plastics, cans, and a variety of other items. No matter how small or large the trash is, the effects of dumping are drastic.

According to Conserve Energy Future, the effects of littering can be devastating to a city because of how easy it would be for disease to spread in a unkempt area. Debris can clog waterways, the build up trash will continue, and it is expensive for clean up.

Littering is a big environmental issue because it hurts our ecosystems and animals. Trash can cause an area to become an eyesore, which not only make it unpleasant to look at for residents in the area, but it is also a danger to the natural inhabitants who reside there.

Wildlife interact with the ecosystem on a daily basis and when people are constantly discarding trash, it can bring damage to animals and plants. Birds can mistake plastic for food and end up ingesting it, often with fatal consequences, and degrading waste can poison plant life.

Freshman Brooke Williams feels, “Littering is bad for the environment because it affects living things, like us, with a negative impact.” Freshman Natalia Noguera continued the conversation stating, “Littering affects not only us but also our oceans. This can cause islands of trash throughout the ocean and plastics can become traps for our ocean life.”

Noguera is right. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is just one of five major plastic accumulation zones in the world, and it is also the largest of the five. According to Ocean Clean Up, which is an organization dedicated to getting rid of the plastic build up and finding solutions on how how to do it, “A total of 1.8 trillion plastic pieces were estimated to be floating in the patch – a plastic count that is equivalent to 250 pieces of debris for every human in the world.” However, that was only during a sampling and researchers concluded that the numbers are continuing to grow.

When animals confuse that plastic for food, they are not only eating the plastic but also ingesting the deadly chemicals associated with it. And, when marine life ingest the food and those nasty chemicals, it can be introduced to humans as well.

Humans are a part of the large network of ecosystems that make up the Earth. If we don’t take care of it, there won’t be much to admire about what once was beautiful.

One way to help with the issue of littering is by recycling. When you recycle, you are ensuring that your plastics won’t end up on the ground, posing a danger to wildlife. Make sure that garbage bins have lids to help the problem of unwanted trash being blown into areas it isn’t supposed to be. Volunteering and helping to pick up the trash that you see around you are also some of the many ways to make a positive impact on the environment.

The more humans continue to litter, the more we are a threat to not only the animals, but to ourselves as well.