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Litter

Ecotourism

Litter consists of waste products that have been


disposed improperly, without permission, at an
inappropriate location. To litter means to throw
objects that are usually man-made onto the
ground and leave them forever for someone
else to pick up or clean up. Large items such as
tires, appliances such as refrigerators, washing
machines, and dishwashers, are often dumped in
locations that are isolated such as National
Forests and are left behind annually.

Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting


fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed
natural areas, intended as a low-impact and
small scale alternative to standard tourism.
Usually, people become eco-tourists to become
more educated about the earth and how to
better preserve it. The purpose of ecotourism
is to give insight into the impact of human beings
on the environment, and to foster a greater
appreciate of natural habitats.

Pollutant

Pollution

A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced


into the environment that has undesired effects.
A pollutant may cause long or short term damage
by changing the growth rate of plant or animal
species, or by interfering with the property,
comfort, and health of humans, Some pollutants
are biodegradable and will not persist in the
environment in the long term.

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the


e nv i ron me nt t ha t ca n cau se c ha nge s to
ecosystems within environments. Pollution can take
the form of chemicals or energy such as noise,
heat, or light. Pollutants are the components of
pollution. The Industrial Revolution is often blamed
for the pollution that we experience today. The
Industrial Revolution was from 1760 to 1840 and
established many large factories that produced
large amounts of smoke from coal burning. Waste
from factories often placed their waste into
streams, rivers, and oceans.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is waste that poses substantial


or potential threats to public health and the
environment. Hazardous wastes can be found in
liquids, solids, and gases. A hazardous waste is a
special type of waste because it cannot be
disposed of in a common way like other trash
that is disposed of. Hazardous wastes can be
the by-products of manufacturing processes or
simply discarded products like cleaning fluids,
motor oil, or pesticides. Special treatments of
hazardous wastes have to occur to be disposed
of properly.

Recycling
Recycling is a process to change waste materials into
new products. This is done to prevent the waste of
potentially useful material.
Recycling reduces the
consumption of fresh materials, reduce energy usage,
reduce air pollution and water pollution.
Recyclable
materials include many kinds of glass, paper, metal,
plastic, textiles, and electronics. Recycling includes the
composting or other reuse of biodegradable wastes
such as food or garden waste. Materials that are to be
recycled are either brought to a collection center or
picked up from a persons home. Recyclables are then
sorted, cleaned, and repurposed into new materials.

Biodegradable Material

There are many types of waste. Some can be broken down


naturally and some cannot. Types of waste that can be broken
down naturally are known as biodegradable.
Waste that is
biodegradable can be broken down by bacteria and fungi. To be
biodegradable is to be compostable.
Compostable waste is
degraded, or broken down with the use of oxygen. Below is a
chart that has the estimated time that a material will degrade in
normal conditions.
Paper towel
2-4 weeks

Apple core
1-2 months

paper
1-3 months

cardboard
2 months

cotton cloth

plastic bags
20 years

aluminum cans

Styrofoam
forever?

5 months

100 years

Decomposers

Decomposers are organism that break down dead


or decaying organisms.
Decomposition is the
breaking down of living things that have died.
Decom posers get t heir energy from dead
organisms, but also release helpful nutrients back
into soil. Bacteria are important decomposers. They
are widely distributed all over the world and can
break down any organic matter Bacteria are vital in
the recycling of nutrients, and nature relies on
bacteria to break down organisms to clear room for
new organisms. Bacteria provides soil with the
nutrients that it needs to support life.

Compost

Reducing

Compost is the organic matter that has been


decomposed and recycled as fertilizer and soil.
Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the
simplest level, the process of composting simply
requires making a heap of moist organic matter that is
known as green waste such as leaves and food waste.
When heap of green waste is made, time is needed for
the materials to break down into humus after a period
of weeks or months. Compost is rich in nutrients. It is
used in gardens, landscaping, and agriculture as a
fertilizer and a natural pesticide for soil.

Reducing is the cutting down of waste that a person


has. The most environmentally resourceful, economic,
and cost effective way to reduce waste is to not have
it at all. Some companies reduce the packaging that
they use on products to cut down on the materials that
they use, and the weight of products that are
delivered, By cutting down on the weight of products,
companies purchase and consume less fuel needed to
deliver products. Some people reduce waste in their
homes by using their green waste, such as old food,
and put it in compost bins, which turn into humus, which
provides nutrients for the soil.

Reusing

How to Protect the Environment

To reuse is to use an item again after a person has


utilized the item for its original purpose. Thrift stores
are an example of companies that make money by
selling the undesired goods of people. One persons
trash is anothers treasure is a common quote that
describes the purpose of thrift stores.

Retiring

teachers often take their classroom materials to


thrift stores in as a donation in return for tax relief.
A new teacher can find childrens books for their
classroom for a cheap price because of the retired
teachers donation to the thrift store.

Keeping Air
Clean

Keeping Water
Clean

Keeping Land
Clean

Get a tune-up on
your car.
By
getting a tune-up
on your car, you
will get bet ter
gas mileage, and
e m i t fewe r
pollutants

Never pour
any thing
especially waste
oil or leftover
lawn chemicals
into a storm drain.
The chemicals will
end u p in t he
nearest stream.

Dont buy more


than you need.
When it comes to
using hazardous
m a te r i a l s , yo u
should buy a
smaller packages
so that there is
less waste.

Carbon Footprint

Global Warming

A carbon footprint is defined as the total sets of greenhouse


emissions caused by an organization, event, product, or person.
The concept of the carbon footprint came from a discussion by
two scientists that estimated how many earths would be
required if everyone on the planet consumed resources at the
same level as another person. It is difficult to calculate the exact
carbon footprint of a person, but there are many ways to
decrease a persons carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is
the effect of a person using forms of energy that add harmful
pollutants on Earth. It is recommended to decrease the size of a
persons carbon footprint, a person needs to consume less
energy. This can be done by unplugging unused electronics.
People can decrease their carbon footprint by using
transportation such as walking or riding bikes to decrease the
amount of pollution that is created by fossil fuels such as coal, oil,
and gas.

Global warming and climate change are terms for the


observed rise in the average temperature of Earth.
There are many forms of evidence that prove that
Earth is warming at a rapid rate. There are effects of
global warming such as melting ice on Earths poles.
When the ice in the poles melt, water is added to the
worlds oceans in large amounts causing cities and
countries that are at see level to flood. When the sea
level changes, precipitation changes. Another effect
of global warming are the extremes of weather
across Earth. Global warming is an effect of pollution
added to Earths atmosphere that makes somewhat of
a blanket to Earth, and keeps the Suns rays inside
Earth, creating a temperature rise.

Emissions

Plastic

There are natural and human sources of emissions on


Earth. To emit means to give out or off. Carbon dioxide
is emitted naturally which include the decomposition of
dead plants or animals, and the waste of organisms.
Humans are responsible for most of the carbon
emissions on Earth. By cutting down trees, burning
fossil fuels, and the production of cement, humans are
increasing carbon emissions into Earths atmosphere.
By emitting carbon into Earths atmosphere, people are
contributing to global warming. 87% of carbon emissions
are from the burning of fossil fuels. 9% of carbon
emissions are caused by the cutting down of trees on
a large scale. 4% of carbon emissions are caused by
the production of cement.

The invention of plastic has changed almost every


aspect of a persons life. Though plastics have many
uses, they are a large contributor to pollution
worldwide. Only a small part of plastics are recycled
(about 9%). The other 91% is either in use or part of
pollution. Plastic is impossible to compost because it
does not break down naturally, and could possibly never
break down if the conditions are right. Even when
plastics are burned to reduce the waste, the chemicals
that are in the smoke are hazardous to almost every
living organism.

Ozone
Ozone is a gas that is a form of oxygen. In the
earths upper atmosphere, ozone plays an
important and beneficial role by providing a shield
from the Suns ultraviolet rays. Emissions from
the tailpipes of automobiles and chimneys on
factories produce soot, which is a byproduct of
something that is burned. To help the ozone, a
person can carpool, use public transportation,
ride a bicycle, or walk to a location that is close.
People can be cautious of when using gasoline,
eliminating the spilling and burning of it.

Organic Food

Organic fruits and vegetables are commonly found in


supermarkets. The word organic is a reflection of
how farmers grow and process agricultural products
such as fruits, vegetables, grain, dairy, and meat. The
reason that buying organic food is that organic
farmers are trying to encourage soil and water
conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers that grow
organic agricultural products do not use normal
methods of fertilizing and weed control.
Organic
farmers use crop rotation to protect the soil.
Pesticides kill unwanted mold and insects in the soil and
on plants. Organic farmers will use mulch instead of
pesticides to protect the consumer of their products
from the dangers of hazardous pesticides.

Landfills
A landfill is a large area of land that is specifically built
to receive wastes. Today, about 56% of our countrys
waste is disposed of in landfills.
Items such as
appliances, newspapers, books, magazines, plastic
containers, food scraps, other forms of trash go into
landfills.
Landfills are a better form of waste
management than using open dumps. Open dumps allow
leachate, which is a liquid formed by decomposing
waste, to soak into groundwater and soil. Open dumps
attract rodents and insects. They emit strong odors
and create fire hazards.

Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is energy that comes from
resources that are naturally replenished such
as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and heat
from inside of Earth. Using renewable energy
can reduce or even eliminate the need for
nonrenewable resources such as fossil fuels.
Nonrenewable resources cannot be replenished
naturally. Renewable energy resources do not
contribute to global warming and have little to no
negative effect on the environment.

Fossil Fuels

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Fossil fuels are made of coal, oil, and natural gas that
are formed long ago from the remains of dead plants
and animals. Though fossil fuels are continually being
formed by natural means, they are considered to
nonrenewable resources because they take millions of
years to form. The problem that arises from the
consumption of fossil fuels is that the Earth can
naturally absorb the carbon emissions from half of the
fossil fuels used on Earth, but the other half consists of
greenhouse gases in Earths atmosphere that
contribute to global warming.
Some people try to
reduce their use of fossil fuels by using nonrenewable
sources of energy.

The Great Pacific garbage patch is a collection


of litter composed of plastic, sludge, and oils
that is currently twice the size of Texas. It is
created by nature by the currents of the Pacific
Ocean that form a gyre. The large amount of
litter in the patch is increasing so rapidly
because the plastics that it is composed of do
not decompose naturally. It is suspected that
the sea floor underneath the Great Pacific
garbage patch is full of garbage as well.
Oceanographers, which are ocean scientists
predict that about 70% of ocean garbage sinks
to the bottom.

Cattle Farms and Pollution

Cigarette Butts

A single dairy cow produces approximately 120


pounds of wet manure each day, which is the
equivalent of 20-40 people. Manure can be a
valuable resource by using it as fertilizer. If not
managed correctly, manure can contaminate
groundwater, which turns into drinking water. The
gases emitted by cattle can cause irritation of the
lungs. The ammonia that is in manure is highly toxic
to fish, and can kill them.
Large amounts of
nutrients in cattle manure can cause algae to
bloom in waterways with can block the waterways
and decrease the amount of oxygen.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the


world.
A cigarette butt is the filter of a
cigarette and about 30% of a cigarettes length.
Over 4.5 trillion are thrown away every year.
Many scientists have varied on the estimate as
to how long it takes for cigarette butts to break
down over time. Scientists have documented
that based on the conditions, it could take
around four hundred years for a cigarette butt
to break down naturally.
Cigarette butts
accumulate outside of buildings, parking lots, and
streets where they can be swept into storm
drains to streams, rivers, and beaches.