National Geographic
United States of America

Recycle or Die-cyle?

The purpose of this petition is to create meaningful connection between human interactions, the environment, and animals that are affected by littering.

We desire changes in laws and littering management that are conducive in developing a stricter law against littering in Texas, and in other states.

Cigarettes are not only known for causing cancer, but are the most common thing that is littered. The material in the filter of cigarettes are also found in things like toothpaste, hair brushes, and even park benches! Unfortunately, cigarettes butts are two times the amount of the second most commonly found litter, candy wrappers and plastic bags.

In the Health and Safety Code of Texas it says in Sec. 365.012. ILLEGAL DUMPING; DISCARDING LIGHTED MATERIALS; CRIMINAL PENALTIES that “(a-1) is a misdemeanor under this subsection if the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs less than 500 pounds or has a volume of less than 100 cubic feet and is punishable by:(1) a fine not to exceed $500;(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 30 days; or(3) both such fine and confinement.”

Not only are we, humans, affected by littering but even animals are affected by us. According to All Animals magazine “Cigarette butts contain nicotine and are toxic if eaten. They also don’t degrade,” says Young. “Animals end up eating a lot of them because they look like fish eggs when the outer wrapping unravels, and they can fill up the animal’s stomach and remain undigested. Birds also feed these items to their young, who often starve to death with their stomachs full of plastic ”. They also confirmed, “Debris also clogs the oceans; the Ocean Conservancy’s 2008 International Coastal Cleanup garnered 3.7 million pounds of trash along 9,000 miles of U.S. shorelines in a single day. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge conglomeration of plastic and other non-biodegradable flotsam swirling off the California coast, is estimated at anywhere from twice as big as Texas to larger than the U.S.”

Please comment with your choice of one of the four options:
-Donate / volunteer in a local anti-littering organization
-Write a letter to your city council, speak up, inform them about our problem
-Vote to make the punishment for littering in Texas “both such fine and confinement”
-Help make littering laws more of a focal point in today’s society

We, the undersigned, call on the you, the game changer, to help the plants, animals, and people that are affected by a simple toss out the car window. In a way, you maybe holding the life of an animal between your fingers. Just know, only you can create a change.

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The Stop Litter Bugs and Save our Environment petition to National Geographic was written by Sarah and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.