Pick It Up! | Teen Ink

Pick It Up!

June 3, 2008
By Anonymous

Pick it Up!

A few months ago my family got a new puppy. My mom and I decided to go to the grocery store but we couldn’t leave her in the house alone, so we decided to take her with us. When I went in the store my mom would stand outside with the dog and wait. Then we’d trade when she needed to go do her shopping. Well, as I was waiting outside I noticed I was surrounded by gum and cigarettes on the ground. My puppy, the curious one that she is, would go around and try to eat them. I struggled to stop her. One time she managed to get some gum and I had to shove my fingers in her mouth and wrestle with her to get it back out. The same goes for the cigarettes. I had to pull at least three out of her mouth as I waited for my mom.

The logical thing that some of you are thinking is, well, why didn’t I just move to a different spot so that I wasn’t surrounded by all those hazardous things for a puppy? The answer to that question would be that I had moved. It was everywhere. I moved to a little grassy area to wait and let my puppy play for a while. Turns out she found more gum embedded in the grass every few feet away from each other. So in the end I had to pick her up and let her squirm in my arms while I waited.

I’m not the only one with a puppy at risk of eating something carelessly thrown on the ground and shouldn’t be eaten. There could be a healthy, full grown dog on a walk with its owner when it ambles across a discarded candy wrapper. The owner may not notice that the dog licks it a few times before chewing on it and then swallowing it. The owner probably just thinks that the dog is sniffing yet another spot of grass or something. By the time the owner notices that something’s wrong with the dog he/she is sitting at their vet, waiting for the pet doctor.

Now, I’m sure that just one item eaten off the ground, depending on what it is, won’t send a dog or any other animal rushing to the vet. But say a bird takes a drink and baths in a nearby stream everyday and doesn’t realize a bunch of smokers go hang out there during their lunch break and when they have to get back to work they drop their cigarettes in the water, polluting it. Eventually the bird will get sick and die all because a group of people couldn’t think of a smart way to dispose of the cigarettes. And that’s probably not the only bird taking baths and getting drinks from the stream everyday. Not only are they killing the birds, but now the fish have to live in that polluted water. Now they, too, will get sick and die.

Water pollution facts show that 40% of Americas rivers and 46% of Americas lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming or aquatic life. Also, it says that 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water, and industrial waste are discharged into US waters annually. The US EPA has warned that sewage levels in rivers could be back to the super-polluted levels of the 1970s by the year 2016.

Facts show that the main reasons people litter are that people are too lazy to dispose of trash properly and that people don’t care. Some people litter because they think other people will pick it up for them. Others don’t even realize that they’re littering.

Pollution gets everywhere and the main reason is because of littering. Litter gets into the Ocean, lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. It’s not only in watery places. It covers the grounds, highways, parks and alleyways. All those areas, plus many more, are all hazardous. Litter can cause fires from cigarettes and car crashes from litter being on the highway, blowing around.

One huge way to stop all this is to stop littering! All that people have to do is take the time to hold on to their trash until they get to a trashcan. Then they can dispose of it properly. By taking the time to do this, we’ll cut back on the polluting as well. Less animals will get sick and die, less car crashes and fires will happen and better yet, it will be more beautiful and enjoyable to be outside.

Another way is to pick up trash, even if its not theirs, and put it where it should have been put in the first place. Some will think that they shouldn’t have to pick up other peoples trash. After all, it wasn’t theirs in first place. They weren’t the ones who dropped it. But, if we help each other out and just pick it up, we’re one step closer to a healthier place to live.

Just a few days ago, while I was with my mom, heading home from getting our nails done, we saw an old man in a jogging or walking suite. He looked to be on his way back home and in his hands were two huge bundles of trash. Not only is he helping the environment, but now I have two bundles less of trash to worry about my puppy getting into. He’s doing his part; now it’s time for everyone else to start doing their part by just picking up the trash!

Main Types of Litter:
Type of Litter
Fast Food Waste

How Long it Takes to Decompose:
Decomposition Time
Styrofoam container
> 1 million years
Plastic jug
1 million years
Aluminum can
200-500 years
Disposable diaper
550 years
Tinned can
90 years
Leather shoe
45 years
Wool sock
1 year
Paper bag
1 month
Banana peel
3-4 weeks


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This article has 5 comments.

lynnsands said...
on Oct. 13 2014 at 10:52 pm
Great article..are there any other articles by this author?  Very interested in his/her future point of views.  Love the environmental aspect!!

bmhsurf said...
on Aug. 19 2008 at 5:59 pm
This is an amazing article and all is very true. Keep up the good work!

Keri said...
on Aug. 14 2008 at 1:05 am
Great article! It's nice to know that teenagers care about the environment. Very well written. Hope to see future essays from this auther.

MelHart said...
on Aug. 12 2008 at 8:21 pm
I love this informative and colorful article. I have three dogs and a toddler; all of them constantly put foreign objects in their mouths. I really like this author's reminder to pick up litter. It inspired me to pick up other people's litter, as well!

Carley101 said...
on Aug. 12 2008 at 5:58 pm
Most people are aware of litter and trash around America, but this article was written in a personal formate and how it can effect us in our daily lives, well thought out and added bonus of facts to support the subject. This teen has a future in writting.