We all know that littering is bad, like really bad. We should always pick up after ourselves and always think about the term “Pack It In, Pack It Out”. This should be the rule no matter what, no matter where you are. For example, if you go to a movie or concert and leave your garbage in your seats when it is over, that’s still littering. We need to start paying closer attention to our actions, because our actions do have consequences. And these consequences are starting to be more and more heartbreaking the more you see the damage we have caused. Rather than looking to recycle, we should focus on reusing. This is really the only way to make sure the items we throw out don’t end up in a landfill. When it comes to reusing, try putting your food scraps in a compost pile or consider getting an animal that will eat the food scraps you have, like chickens or goats. If you are going to throw something away, stop for a second and think to yourself if it can be reused rather than thrown away. You could take an empty aluminum can and turn it into a pencil holder by adding a cute ribbon to the outside, rather than throwing it into the recycle bin and buying a pencil holder in a few weeks. To help you reconsider what you throw away, here are 20 pictures of pollution and the effects they are having on not just animals, but the entire world.
1. Dead Pigs In The Shanghai River – Under Chinese law, farmers are supposed to discard of animal carcasses by taking them to their town’s disposal site, but often they don’t. Farmers will throw the bodies in the river, causing them to wash up on shore and contaminating local drinking water.
2. Industrial Factory In A Forest In China – The picture above is an industrial factory located in a forest in China. As you can see, this factory is emitting a lot of pollution, which in turn is harming the vegetation and animals who call this forest home.
3. Great Wall Of China Pollution – While the Great Wall Of China is a great place to visit if you have a chance, there are also secrets that they don’t like advertised. When someone litters while visiting, that garbage has to go somewhere, and here is a sad reminder of that.
4. Koala Without A Home – This koala lost its home after it was destroyed due to deforestation. Deforestation is defined as the permanent destruction of forests in order to make the land available for other uses. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 18 million acres of forest are lost each and every year due to deforestation. Where do we expect these animals to go when their homes are being torn down for human use.
5. Turtle Stuck In Soda Plastic – We’ve seen this happen too many times before. A turtle gets stuck in the plastic that holds are soda cans together, and as they get bigger their bodies have to adjust to this hazard. If that person would have just cut up this plastic before throwing it away, this turtle could live a normal life.
6. Pollution In Mexico City – With a population estimated to be close to 9 million people, it’s no wonder there is a ton of pollution. They are currently working on different tactics to help reduce the pollution in the city. They’re doing this by getting the community involved and working together, teaching classes on how to reduce emissions, and much more.
7. Smog Over Los Angeles – Los Angeles currently has an estimated 3.8 million residents. A lot of their pollution comes from diesel engines, ports, motor vehicles, and industries located within the city limits. One of the first steps in lessening this pollution is by working with the area ports in both Los Angeles and Long Beach. Because so many goods are imported and exported, this is a huge cause of the smog.
8. Deceased Fish Found In A Polluted River – Would you eat fish that came out of this river if you saw these guys nearby? Not only is the river killing fish, it’s making it harder to be a source of food due to the pollutants.
9. Hong Kong Skyline – Rather than working on cleaning up the air, Hong Kong installed this fake skyline so tourists could get their picture with the skyline but minus the smog. As you can see in this picture, pollution is definitely a huge issue world-wide.
10. Polluted River In China – When garbage is thrown into a water way, it must go somewhere. Here you can see someone digging through the garbage found in this river in search of anything of value.
11. Bird Covered In Oil – After a recent oil spill, this bird was caught in the middle of it and is now covered in oil fighting for its life. When an oil spill happens, some companies are fined for the costs of clean up efforts, but why aren’t they being held responsible before it’s too late?
12. Child Drinking From Polluted Stream – While clean drinking water isn’t something that a lot of us have to worry about, children and families in some parts of the world have to find water anywhere they can get it. Even if this means drinking from a polluted stream.
13. Boy Swimming In Garbage – This young boy is going through garbage looking for anything valuable that might be worth selling. This is heartbreaking and something needs to be done, especially in cities that don’t have proper sanitation set up.
14. Polluted River In China – You may be wondering why there are so many pictures of China on this list. Due to their reliability on coal, this is their number one cause of pollution. About 80% of their electricity and 80% of their total energy comes from coal. When burned, they are usually using high sulfur coal which causes a lot of pollution. Recently the National Environmental Analysis which was released by the Tsinghua University and The Asian Development Bank, they listed that 7 out of 10 of the most polluted cities in the world were in China. This includes the cities of Taiyuan, Beijing, Urumqi, Chongqing, Jinan, and Shijiazhuang.
15. River Full Of Algae – Yes, that green sludge is actually algae. They’re not sure of the cause of it. Some say it’s coming from the ocean, others are saying it’s caused due to the fertilizers that farmers are throwing into their water supply.
16. Seal Stuck In Plastic – This one breaks my heart. This poor seal has plastic string tangled around his neck, literally tearing apart his skin. Not only is that painful, but with open wounds it is more susceptible to infections.
17. Lake Shasta In California – Luckily water levels are now on the rise, but this is Lake Shasta in California. As you can see by the surrounding land, water levels are very low compared to where they should be. Right now water levels are 48 feet higher than they were last year, but this is still only leaving the lake filled to about 57% capacity, which is more than a hundred feet below the crust.
18. Jakarta, Indonesia – With over 14 million people, this river is the main source of water for people in Jakarta, Indonesia. Yes, all of that garbage is contaminating the water supply making it less than safe to drink. But when you have no other options, where do you go?
19. Yellow River, China – The Yellow River is the third longest river in Asia, while China is the world’s largest grain producer. About one-third of this river, which is severely polluted, has been deemed unusable for agricultural and industrial use. This is because of the factory discharges, along with the sewage from expanding cities. They have a saying, “When The Yellow River Flows Clear,” which is similar to the term, “When Pigs Fly”.
20. Oil Pipeline In Shandong – When an oil pipeline explodes, it leaves behind a lot of devastation. Not only are people typically killed when this happens, everything surrounding the pipeline is covered in oil.
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These pictures are so devastating and heartbreaking. After seeing these, I will definitely be looking at my garbage a little closer than before. If I can’t reuse it, I will try to recycle it if possible. In most cities, the local garbage company will either offer recycling pick up or have drop offs where you can take recyclables. Almost everything, such as food scraps, can be reused if you really focus on it. Try throwing your coffee grounds into a plant or using it as a face scrub. There can be hidden treasures in your garbage that you didn’t even know about, but when you pay attention, you’ll be surprised at the difference you can make.