In California, the fine for littering is between $100 and $1,000 dollars plus eight hours of litter cleanup. You would think that would stop people from throwing their trash on the ground but unfortunately it doesn’t. EarthTeam has turned its focus to Zero Litter. We use ZeroLitter.org to record litter we see around us in our efforts to achieve a zero litter environment. I know, sounds impossible, but not only are we picking up litter, we are raising awareness to show people how one piece at a time does make a difference.
Last week I grabbed my gloves and a trash bag and set off for a litter walk. I walked up MacArthur Blvd, neighbor to Lakeshore and Oakland High School. This isn’t the only place I record litter, but this neighborhood caught my attention because I noticed a pattern. Lakeshore is popular among the students of Oakland High because it’s a place to grab something to eat and it’s not too far. I noticed a lot of chip bags, Starbucks cups, and cigarette butts. Litter wasn’t the only I noticed on my walk, but also the people who walked by. I saw students and people coming home from work. That explains the Starbucks cups. I was happy to see the coffee cups weren’t made of styrofoam, but I wish the paper cups could’ve made it in the trash can.
Another thing that I noticed was the lack of trash cans. I only saw a few on my walk and out of curiosity I looked inside of them and saw that they were practically empty. Another thing that struck me was the amount of trash next to the trash can, why couldn’t they just throw it away where it belonged?
ZeroLitter.org is extremely helpful, not only does it promote picking up litter but with the recording part, it shows the huge amounts of trash that is really out there in our environment. Hopefully these numbers will move people to be more conscious about where they put their trash. I hope to see change soon even if it takes one piece of trash at a time.
– Lizbeth Maldonado