“Highway to hell” is not just the title of a famous song by ACDC, it’s also a very true statement. Imagine you’re driving fast on a street. At the end of the street, you see a devil surrounded by fire and death but also trash. Imagine that on every street you drive on – then, you understand our current situation.
Although it’s one of the biggest threats to humans, this highway to hell is not just about the carbon dioxide emissions which, amongst other things, causes an increase of the average temperature. Because we’re not just heating our planet up, causing hell on earth. We also seem to confuse our surrounding with a trash can. More than 15% of drivers admit to have thrown away their rubbish out of the car. I’m not just talking about biological waste like the rest of an apple, I’m talking about bottles, chewing gum, plastic bags, cups, etc. An apple will decompose quickly, a bottle needs by contrast 500 years. I still don’t understand why it’s so hard for so many people to just put their trash into a bag and wait until they drive by a trash can or until they return home. It’s not like your waste will turn into a monster and eat you alive. Not. Gonna. Happen.
A short story about a bottle
Ever thought about what will happen to this one bottle you just threw out of the window? It will first just lay there, for a long, long time. It will wait for someone to pick it up and recycle it or, at least, to throw it away – which probably won’t happen when it lays somewhere next to the highway.
Then, it starts to rain. With time, toxic substances from the bottle can mix up with the water creating a harmful liquid called Leachate. This liquid can mix up with ground water, streams and soil. It poisons ecosystems.
But that’s just about a part of the bottle. The whole bottle itself would either lie on the ground of hundreds of years or somehow end up in a stream, ending up in the ocean. There it probably breaks down into small pieces: microplastic. And if you think, that’s it, then wait for what follows:
That microplastic is often confused with food by different water animals like fish. Plastic makes the animals feel full although they’re not, so they starve to death. And if that’s not bad enough, let’s have a short lecture about food chains: that microplastic is for example eaten by a fish larva. This fish larva is eaten by squid. This squid is eaten by a tuna. And this tuna is eaten by us. So, in the end, it’s us who are eating our own trash.
To cut that long story short: by using plastic in general, and especially by throwing it away anywhere, we’re not just destroying our environment but ourselves as well. Our behavior is nothing else but suicide.
What should I do?
Easy! Don’t throw your trash (especially plastic) out of the window! Just keep it in your car and wait until you can throw it away into a recycling bin. I told it already before: your trash won’t turn into a human-eating monster when you’re driving. It will only turn into a dangerous monster, when you throw it out of the car. You say it’s not possible? Just look at Singapore, where they banned littering with high penalties between 300-1000$.
So, just hold yourself back, take smart and sustainable choices and throw your trash into a bin.