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You can meet lots of fun people on the bus...

Personal pollution is a much less visible problem than corporate pollution, but it is one that is just as worrisome and as harmful. You don’t see monstrous smoke stakes spewing billowing clouds of pollution into the sky, but we all need to take a step back and see the impact that we each have. According to the EPA, in 2005 the US generated 245 million tons of solid waste, which equals to about 1,600 pounds per person in one year! While this figure was calculated to include recycled products(which is a rather small percentage), it is still rather outstanding, especially when you considered that that is only the amount of solid waste. This figure doesn’t even touch the problem of air pollution!
Now add to this the roughly 6 billion other people in the world, polluting just as much, and you can see that we have a serious problem.
In my personal life, I try to minimize my impact. I believe in the importance of recycling and do so as much as possible, but even that it’s very effective in the long run. It’s so hard to be mindful of pollution when we have a million other things to worry about and when it’s so much easier to just throw things in the trash can….or even just on the ground. Products have too much packaging, paper is wasted to readily.
I do take the bus to and from the U everyday, but even so I find myself driving a lot on the weekends and evenings. I’m an advocate of public transportation and biking, but a lot of the time it is just impractical to do these. If I were to drive to school, it would take me all of 8 minutes(I’ve clocked it) to jumped on 35W and navigate the freeways to the U. On the bus, I have to transfer once on Franklin and it ends up taking me about 40 minutes. That’s 32 wasted minutes! Fortunately I don’t even have a car to tempt me.
I think convenience is the most important thing to focus on if we want to reduce our waste. We need to make it convenient to recycle. We need to make it convenient to take the bus. Unless we all partake in this effort, it hardly matters what you or I do personally. Recycling may make you feel good about yourself, but I think the real way to make an impact is to work with the recycling companies and the government to create more widespread change.
Make busses more socially acceptable, make recycling bins as prevelent as garbage cans. Social change is needed and not just a smattering of individual change!

Comments

Great post about a great topic. The thing ive found in my town is that they dont even care to recycle, noone cares about it, they throw glass and paper away right with the regular trash. There is NO incentive at all here in Maine.

If there is no incentive, most people wont do it. Its SAD but true.