The Impact of Humans on the Environment
The human population on the planet now tallies in at over 6 billion.
Many experts believe this population may double in the next
half-century, as expressed in A Special Moment in History by Bill
McKibben. Humans are undoubtedly the 'rulers' of this earth, but we
have not been good rulers. In fact in our years of monumental growth
as a species, our relationship to our kingdom, the earth, can best be
described as parasitic. A parasite is an organism that is dependent on
another for its existence without making a useful or adequate return.
It is not hard to see how well we fit this description. Unfortunately
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Their families of two to
three children consume the equivalent of 50 to 60 children in the
Third World. This abnormal level of consumption leads to our problem
of resource depletion. However, the biggest problem we face today is
not that we are running out of resources by our wasteful ways, but
that we are running out of places to safely dispose the waste products
of our excessive consumption. The only entity that grows larger and
faster than us, is our garbage, which recursively increases the
magnitude of our litter problem.
Solid Waste has soared to astronomical proportions in today's world.
It is the combination of Residential garbage and Industrial garbage
(dwarfs Residential garbage). An average American produces 4 pounds of
trash a day, of which a majority maybe non-biodegradable. Every year,
The United States produces 200 million tons of garbage of which less
than one quarter is recycled. Only ten percent of residential wastes
are recovered through recycling due to lack of financial backing for
recycling operations, the small size of markets for recycled products
and toxic chemicals present in recyclable garbage.
Litter is the part of our solid waste that is in an inappropriate
place such as a street, stream, playground, beach etc. Litter is
everything from a cigarette butt that it carelessly thrown away,
chewing gum on the pavement, candy wrappers, fast food packaging, to
the 'gourmet garbage' such as the dog poop (Katie Kellie - The history
and Future of Garbage in America). Most people hardly take the
littering problem seriously for various reasons. Some litter because
they think it's okay to litter where someone else will clean up,
others because of already accumulated litter - litter begets litter (In
Defense of Litter - J.H Alexander). Although motorists and pedestrians
are most often blamed for the litter problem, they are far from the
only culprits. The few hours I have spent cleaning the Eckerd College
campus, I have seen a large amount of litter that probably was not
intentionally thrown out. The best example being a plethora of
Styrofoam nuggets that had surrounded virtually every group of plants
and bushes over a large part of the campus. Later, I was told that
these nuggets had blown out of a packaging box from an uncovered trash
bin. As Judo H. Alexander points out in his article, In Defense of
Garbage, over sixty percent of litter originates from five sources due
to carelessness on their part: uncovered trucks, loading docks,
construction sites, mishandled residential garbage and mishandled
commercial waste. From these sources, litter is carried everywhere by
wind, air, water, and traffic until it is trapped by a barrier such as
a fence, a wall, a curb, bushes and trees, or other such objects. Once
trapped, the litter is not only a highly visible public...