Keeping the environment clean is our collective responsibility. It is not just the governments or environmental agencies that should be concerned about the build-up of waste in our environment.
The issue of environmental pollution is a global trend that is common in both developed and developing societies. A lot can be done to curb the menace of pollution and make the air around us more breathable. The first step will be to start with your immediate surroundings and take care of the litters.
If you are serious about tackling the waste in your environment, you should begin by taking appropriate measures to keep your house and surrounding litter-free.
For some, picking up the litters may be a pointless exercise, but I choose to disagree. When the food wrappings, plastic bags, and paper litters remain in the streets, the wind sweeps them around, and they end up blocking the drainages that line the streets.
Plastic wastes are the most common to litter the streets in many parts of the world. Arming ourselves with gloves, bins, and litter pickers, we could do a lot to reduce the menace of plastic waste in our environment.
June 5th is the World’s Environment Day. Even at that, some parts of the world still don’t take any measures to sensitize the citizens on the need to keep the streets litter-free. It is the collective responsibility of every one of us to keep the environment clean, but the responsibility of the relevant agencies to champion the course.
The best way to go about picking litters is to do it as a community, set aside a particular day of the month when every member of the community comes out to contribute to keeping the environment clean. In some places, the last Saturday of the month is known as sanitation day, and movement is restricted until the end of sanitation. It doesn’t matter the strategy that is used, so long as people turn out in their numbers to perform their civic duties.
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Picking Up Litter in the Community
There are several ways to go about picking up the litter in your environment, and we have broken them down for you below.
Choose a Location
The first thing you will need to do when engaging in communal sanitation is to pick a spot. If there are many places to clean, it would be best to start from the areas with the most litter.
The roadways are always littered with dirt and are a great place to start. Cigarette buts and plastic wrappings are the common wastes that litter the roadways. Motorists throw away the waste from their vehicles, which ends up in the edges of the road; and will remain there until they are swept away by the wind to another location or they are removed.
You will need to ensure some safety precautions when removing wastes from the roadways. You want to avoid walking at the center of a busy roadway, and it is in your best interest to wear safety vests to keep you protected. It is also a good idea to pick the litters in the day time, to avoid getting into any accidents in the dark.
Check Recreational Areas
Public places such as parks and playgrounds are littered with dirt on a daily. Hiking trails also get a lot of plastic wrappings laying around, so you also want to check those areas out when you engage in communal sanitation.
You can also check the beaches if there is any in your locality. Places, where people gather, are usually littered with specks of dirt. If you want your recreational areas to be inviting for both locals and tourists, you want to ensure that you keep it free from dirt.
Check the Drains
Most drains are designed to channel water from the streets when there is a downpour. When the drains are littered with dirt, it can make drainage of water a bit of a problem, resulting in flooded streets. Also, you want to enlighten the public to refrain from public littering. You know how the dirt on the street get swept into the drain and ends up in the oceans, they are not at all great for the aquatic life as well.
When cleaning storm drains, you want to avoid dipping your hand inside, as you may not be aware of what’s laying around at the other end. You also want to avoid coming in contact with standing water since they are filled with diseases that can be harmful to you.
You must take your safety into account when picking up litters from the street. Some safety tips that you should endeavor to stand by are
Use Necessary Tools
You should make use of tools such as a pick-up stick to lift the dirt from the ground, so you don’t have to pick them up with your hand. Even with gloves on, you still can pick up germs when you dip your hands directly into ditches and bins. There are different styles of sticks available for you to choose from. Some of them come with a lever you can manipulate to pick up and dump the thrash, so you want to look around before making a decision.
Use Reflective Safety Vests
This is important especially if you will be working close to the road. A reflective vest makes it easy for drivers to see you anywhere you are on the high-way. Vests with sharp, bright colors such as yellow, red, orange, are the best choice for highway sanitation.
It doesn’t matter if you are not using your hands to pick the dirt, you still want to ensure you keep them warm and dry. Remember that you can sweat a lot while working outdoors and picking up dirt with your moist hand can encourage the transfer of germs. So you want to keep your gloves on at all times.
At the end of the day, the litter will have to be sorted, the ones that are going to be recycled will be sent to the recycling plants while those to be disposed of will be sent to the landfills.
Remember, that it is our collective responsibility to keep the environment clean, and you should wait for no one.