The daily announcements blare through every classroom. The plea for students to pick up after themselves is repeated once again. The students pay little to no attention. Soon, the announcements end and class continues, the reminder long forgotten.
At our school, students are repeatedly asked to pick up their trash as they leave their lunch spot, or to place their trash into the correct bins. Yet every day, pieces of trash and other litter are strewn around our hallways and surrounding parks.
It is not fair to our custodians, our faculty, or our peers to leave our school and surrounding park with litter on the ground, waiting to be either picked up by someone else or left to pollute the environment.
Our trash is our responsibility. Every small piece of trash that is dropped, although it may seem like it has no impact, piles up into a problem is much larger than it needs to be. If everyone has the same excuse then a small action can have large consequences. Those three or four steps to the nearest trash can will not hinder your day, and perhaps someone seeing you make the effort to pick up your own trash or another person’s will be convinced to do the same.
Nine billion tons of trash go into the sea every year, according to litteritcostsyou.org. Due to our close proximity to the ocean and other water sources, such as the creek in Piedmont Park, and the many storm drains that connect our streets to the ocean, it is very important to make an effort to limit what pollution we might contribute.
I can recall the disheartening sight I encountered while kayaking through kelp in Santa Cruz with pieces of trash floating in the water around me.
Sitting and eating in a clean area is much more enjoyable than sitting in a place littered with trash. As you leave your lunch table, bench, or wherever you spend your time, glance around you, if you see a piece of garbage, pick it up and put it in the trash.
Occasionally, leaving a bag or wrapper behind is truly an accident; it can happen to anybody. So do not be afraid to remind others around you if they leave a piece of trash behind, or simply pick it up yourself.
Rather than leaving the amazing “Piedmont Highlander” behind on benches, the ground or other areas around the school or Piedmont Park, pick it up and bring it home to share with your friends and family for a relaxing read at home, or at least put it in the recycling bin.
I want to go to a school where I can walk down the hallways and through our parks and not see a single piece of trash on the ground. We can, and we should, work together to solve this problem. Let’s walk down the hallways of our school and never see papers strewn across benches or on the ground again.