One small action can have a big impact on the planet, as proven by one Redditor’s mission to “de-trash” their local area.
As the post explains, it took 25 minutes to fill the bag within a one-minute walk from the OP’s home.
“There’s so much of it everywhere!” the Redditor adds in a comment. “This took almost no effort.”
More than 90% of Americans think litter is a problem in their state, according to research by Keep America Beautiful. The study found on average 2,000 pieces of litter per mile in the U.S., totaling nearly 50 billion trash items along roadways and waterways.
Litter can have devastating consequences both for people’s health and wildlife. As the trash breaks down, it releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere — for example, cigarette butts emit arsenic when they decompose.
In coastal areas, litter may also get blown into the ocean. Once in the water, plastic items break down into microplastics, forming pellet-sized nurdles that marine animals eat. The absorption of these microplastics into the water is thought to increase the ocean’s acidity, which contributes to coral reef bleaching.
Picking up litter helps to remove some of that harmful trash from the environment, although some have questioned how much difference it can make against a mountain of trash. In an interview with Postive News, David Katz, the founder and CEO of The Plastic Bank, likened the practice to mopping the floor before turning off the water in an overflowing sink.
But others argue that litter picking can help to change people’s attitudes towards their own litter. For example, the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign views trash picking as an opportunity to “change your community’s relationship to litter and [for] promoting behavior change.”
Redditors seemed to agree that individuals could make a difference in their own communities.
“I started doing this after seeing someone in my neighborhood with a grabber. Now that Reddit has seen your post, *who knows* how many people might start?” one user comments.
“This is really what matters and something each and everyone can do,” another replies.
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