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Hiker sparks frustration after sharing photo of trash found in wilderness: 'You can't escape the garbage'

"I find at least one on every hike."

"I find at least one on every hike."

Photo Credit: iStock

Going on a hike in the wilderness is a great way to leave your worries behind and reconnect with nature. Away from constant advertising, noise pollution, and endless traffic, you can let your mind relax and take in the fresh air.

One sure way to have that peace and tranquility disturbed, though, is to stumble upon a piece of trash caught up in the trees, bushes, or undergrowth. Not only is it infuriating that the area has been polluted, potentially affecting plant growth or animal well-being, but sometimes it also poses a baffling question: How did this get there?

One person posted a picture of a deflated mylar balloon that had snagged on a tree branch to Reddit's r/Anticonsumption community.

"I find at least one on every hike."
Photo Credit: Reddit

"From the highest mountain to the remotest wilderness, you can't escape the garbage," they captioned the image.

It's a frustrating scene. Not only did this hiker get their time outdoors ruined by the troubling sight, but if they weren't around to spot the shiny blue pollutant and take it home, it also would likely have remained in the area for years. 

Mylar is made of polyester, which is also used in the fast fashion industry. The University of Wollongong in Australia estimates that a polyester T-shirt won't degrade completely for between 20 to 200 years.

This balloon would likely have done the same, and all the while, it would have leached harmful chemicals into its surroundings, potentially impacting future growth in the area. According to the Council of Fashion Designers America, polyester is a type of plastic typically derived from petroleum. 

While it might not completely decompose, the balloon would likely erode into nano- or microplastics, which could easily enter the bodies of animals through ingestion. Larger pieces of plastic could also be a choking hazard, or they could starve an animal from the inside. 

Finding the balloon in deep wilderness shows just how trash can travel to even the most remote places, causing harm wherever it eventually lands.

"Those damn balloons!" one Redditor said. "I find at least one on every hike."

"I suppose the jet streams and prevailing winds tend to move them to certain places," the original poster speculated

"Every time I see garbage and I can, I take it," someone else added. "Either in the wilds or in the city. I hope that someone sees me and mimics me. Until the world changes."

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