INTRODUCTION A clean environment is good for more than just looking pretty. As the North Carolina Public Safety website explains, “Everyone knows that litter creates an eyesore and an image problem. But littering is not only ugly, it can be dangerous.” Not only that, “Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it contributes to your physical well being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. (University of Minnesota).” Even Scientific American describes how studies have shown the positive impacts a clean environment has on health (2012). So, shouldn’t we strive for the cleanliness of our environment? As children, many people visit parks, go to pools, and walk on green ways to enjoy the environment. These public areas of our state are part of our childhoods, and they will be a part of the future too. Future children and animals will visit same parks, breath the same air, and drink the same water we are using today. That’s why everyone should work to protect these important facilities. According to the NC Department of Public Safety, “In 2015, the North Carolina Department of Transportation spent more than $15 million to remove approximately 7.5 million pounds of roadside litter.” The government has done a lot to help, but there are still things we can do, but what exactly are we up against? ISSUE The excessive pollution we emit into our atmosphere could cause major issues in air quality, water quality, and roadside litter. This could lead to an unhealthy community. Since the parks are as dirty as they are, no one will want to go to them, and the companies who run the parks will lose money. Then, they will be unable to provide us with more parks and greenways to supply our recreational needs. If you think about it, water has to come from somewhere. If one water source is infected, it could spread to the whole watershed. However, trash here and there doesn’t cause all pollution. There is also ozone and diesel pollution. Cleanaircarolina.org explains to us that ozone pollution happens when car exhaust reacts with sunlight, causing nitrogen oxides to form. Diesel pollution comes from trucks, buses, trains, and construction equipment.Throwing out trash or other harmful things into our environment has been a problem for almost as long as humans have been around. Throughout the previous centuries, humans he have had poor sanitary conditions, which Mother Nature mostly took care of herself. Unfortunately, as time went on, throughout Industrialization in America and all the other countries, this little bit of trash here and there, and all the energy sources that were used resulted in severe air quality issues all over the world. The amount of trash that the average North Carolinian generates each year, is equivalent to the weight of 7,866,666 cars. Today, places with high industrialization have incredibly high Particulate Matter Concentration(PM). India, has a PM of a massive 75. Egypt, has a PM is 73. Turkey, is also 73. And in China the PM is 71. In America, the Average PM is 10.
CURRENT SOLUTIONS People are doing what they can to protect our environment from pollution. Pollution is a serious matter in today’s society. The greenhouse gases that we emit from various sources, such as cars and burning other fossil fuels, badly damages the environment, by releasing greenhouse gasses. Many organizations are trying to minimize the amount of greenhouse gas in our atmosphere, like the Clean Air Carolina organization. Their goal is to inform citizen the types and dangers of air pollution. You can find their website in the sources listed below. Air pollution is not the only way we’re hurting our environment. We are also tossing chemicals and waste into our water under the impression that it will be cleaned out at a plant. Instead, the waste is going to the nearest stream or pond. This water is contaminated with fertilizers, paint, oil, and other devastating chemicals we overlook. This can heavily affect the wildlife in the area that gets its drinking water from the water source. The City of Raleigh is a government body that handles some of the everyday things that happens in Raleigh. They have decided that the runoff pollution we cause has gone on long enough. They are asking that you report anyone you see that is disposing anything other than storm water into a storm drain. They plan to clean up the water we have so long polluted. You can find a link to their website in the sources. Aside from air and water pollution, there is also littering itself. We see people doing it on a regular basis, despite the fine for it. Littering is not only an environmentally menace, but a safety hazard as well. For example, on June 9th, a sofa fell out of the back of a pickup truck onto I-40 and caused a crash that destroyed $20 million dollars worth of insulin. This is a larger scale of littering, but it conveys the point. PNublic Safety is another government body that encourages people to make a “ Litter Free NC”. They inform people of the hazards of littering and what it could do to you. Littering is a problem we can end today! See the NC Public Safety link below. SERVICE PROJECT Pollution is a big problem, and the solution requires everyone's participation. Air pollution and water pollution might be difficult to deal with, but litter is a direct result of us. So it’s our job to fix it. We have to pick up after ourselves, or other people, to ensure that our community stays a healthy, safe place to live.We will organize a litter clean-up and walk to House Creek trail, split up into small groups, and pick up trash for two hours. Some things we would need to do before the clean up are:Buying trash bags and gloves. These would have to be purchased by parents and students as donations.We also plan to advertise our cause to the students through videos (broadcasted over the school news and through homeroom representatives) and flyers. As a way to sign up for this we could set up a Google forms so people jab easy access to a signup sheet.Also a we should ask parents and teachers to monitor students to make sure they aren't misbehaving.The last step we have to do is to ask permission from the principal to make sure we can advertise this at school and treat it as a school project.Our goal in this activity is for each person to collect one bag of trash, or approximately 10 bags of trash total. We will know that we have reached the goal when we count the total bags of trash after the clean up.Although pollution is such a big issue, if we all work together we can make a difference. Achieving our goal will make our neighborhood will be a little bit cleaner.