The Littering Issue in Southern Illinois


Mallary Vasquez, Advertising Manager

In the springtime, the flowers bloom. Southern Illinois becomes green with life and those in the area can see it’s beauty. The beautiful green grass, the wildflowers, the trees, all comes to life. However, not everyone seems to care to look at the beauty around us, but they treat nature like their own landfill.
I’ve lived out on County Farm Road my entire life. As I always say, I live in the middle of nowhere. While it takes me a while to go into town and back, I love the area. The wildlife all around me gives me all I need in life. In the warm weather, I can be found walking the trails on our land or hammocking by the lake. Recently on a stroll by the road, I did another walk through with a trash bag to clean up litter, and was once again met with upsetting sights.
I am not the only one cleaning up people’s trash in the grass, but I’ve seen many people begin to do this recently. I try to respect nature as much as I can, as working at a summer camp, that’s one of the biggest things we teach. I understand how it can be difficult though. Sometimes a piece of trash my fly out of the school’s recycling bin on a windy day and it flies away before you can catch it. However, this is much different.
Fast food straws and lids, beer bottles, and food packaging are examples of all of the things that can be found along my road. I only walked maybe a quarter of a mile before my bag was ¾ the way full with trash. I’ve seen people walk down my road recently, as in maybe a week or so ago, picking up trash. How did the litter accumulate so quickly?
My guess would most likely be the lack of respect for the world, and not people not feeling accountable for their actions. People will not feel like they have anything to pay to the world, and treat it poorly. The world is a home to not only humans but so many other living things. Littering can show a disrespect to the world and everything in it, as it dirties the earth, and can even kill off species. Littering can also be due to that people may think, “Oh, well it’s just one piece of trash,” but so did millions of other people.
This litter accumulates over time and can end up damaging ecosystems. It can get into water systems, flowing into the ocean, which has the power to hurt or kill animals by choking, or in some cases, poisoning.
I am in no way trying to say that I am perfect. As I said, it can be hard to prevent littering. With a busy schedule, I’m not able to pick up the trash often, but when I do, I am always met with the same sights of trash and litter, and it is upsetting. I would challenge anyone to go out to the countryside one day to clean up trash, as describing it wouldn’t be enough. The littering issue should not be looked over, and needs to be addressed.