Most of us toss our trash into a dumpster or stuff it down a garbage chute without much thought. We flush toilets, drain bathtubs, and grind up leftover food in a disposer with little concern about where the waste goes. We haul used furniture, old toys, worn-out bicycles, and battered car parts to the city dump unaware of what will happen to it next. But we all need to pay closer attention to what we do with the waste, trash, litter, and garbage we produce each day. Did you know, according to the website recycling-revolution, it puts that on average each of us throws out 4.4 pounds of waste per day. This ads up to almost a ton of trash per person, per year.
When we drop our trash on the street, toss it out a car window, or dump it into a lake or river, we pollute our cities, countryside, and waterways. When we explode rockets, burn garbage in our backyard or at a city dump, and leave leftover satellites in space, we pollute the skies.
When we leave it out in the open, we spread disease. When we bury it, we risk having poisonous gases and liquids from the refuse seep into our drinking water. In the case of nuclear waste, discarded materials can take thousands of years to decompose.
Disposing of our waste, legally and illegally, has produced serious problems, especially in recent years when we throw away a large percentage of what we buy. From disposable dishes to disposable diapers, we've become known as a "throwaway" society.
What happens to this mountain of litter that reaches from the oceans to outer space? What happens to the millions of tons of hazardous toxic wastes produced annually? How do these waste products affect the quality of life on our planet?
There are no simple, straightforward answers. There may never be. We do know, however, that the problems are enormous and the need for a solution is urgent. People become ill from waste pollution. Many even die. Animal and plant life are threatened. Air and drinking water in many...