I have instilled in my children from a very young age that we respect our Mother Earth. My children will be the first to call out anyone they see who may throw litter where it does not belong, and they are not shy. I feel proud in knowing that they take keeping the earth clean seriously.
On April 22nd of each year, also known as Earth Day, we have made it a tradition at some point during the day to take a family walk with gloves on and a large garbage bag in hand. We then walk up and down the streets of our neighborhood and collect all the garbage on the side of the roads. It is amazing how much we collect. Both sad and eye-opening to see how many people are littering, even in neighborhoods outside the hustle and bustle of city life.
While on this walk, my kids questioned why people cannot just hold on to their garbage until it can be disposed of properly and why many people do not respect Mother Earth. It is hard for me to answer their questions because it is something that I also do not understand. By littering, we are killing innocent animals who may eat things they are not supposed to, we cause toxins to get into our soil and water, and we cause the sides of our streets to be unsightly.
Education is a vital tool to help reduce littering.
We need to start with the youngest generations and educate our children on the proper disposal of trash and the detrimental effects caused by littering. Most littering occurs with notable intent, such as flicking something outside your car window, leaving trash on a table, dropping items where they don’t belong, etc. This is why education is key in preventing these careless habits, and in turn, we will be able to keep our communities clean and safe.