If you are looking for a relaxing activity to make a positive impact on your community while practicing the CDC’s recommendation of social distancing, consider cleaning up litter along your regular walking route, local green belts and your neighborhood.
All litter, big and small, is not only unsightly, it has serious environmental consequences, that can be easily prevented. It is important to dispose of waste properly, educate or report those seen littering and start the habit of picking it up when you see it.
Negative effects of litter:
1. Decreases community aesthetic, reducing property values.
2. Causes soil, water and air pollution. Chemicals can leach from litter, polluting nearby soil and water bodies. If the littered area is burned, it can release toxic particulate matter.
3. Creates breeding grounds for mosquitoes. It only takes 1 plastic bottle cap full of water for mosquitoes to reproduce.
4. Causes fire hazards.
5. Harms wildlife. Small pieces of litter are often ingested by aquatic and land animals and fishing line or other tanglers can trap them. This can lead to death or severe injury.
If you’ve been racking up a collection of plastic bags, reuse them for litter bags! Remember to take clean plastic bags and film back to the grocery store for recycling. They cannot be recycled in your curbside cart.
Dispose of collected litter in a pathway receptacle or your curbside cart. Please use care not to overstuff trash bins on pathways. Overstuffed trash cans lead to more litter.
Want to burn some calories while you’re at it? Try “plogging,” the act of picking up litter while you are jogging!
- Use reusable work gloves to save disposable ones. Wash them after use.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands. ·
- Watch out for poisonous plants. Leaves of three, leave it be!
- Use care around wildlife and observe them from afar. Use a stick to disturb grass before walking through.
- Wear long sleeved, light colored clothing and close toed shoes.
- Bring a hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellant and a water bottle.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Do not go into streets or busy vehicle areas.
Look down for litter, look up for other hidden treasures in the community!
While you are out enjoying a relaxing walk through the neighborhood, take advantage of being surrounded by nature in spring and consider the following social distancing approved activities:
Photography – Take a moment to share your photos with your family, friends, your community through social media and us! Many people are unable to leave the house during this time. Your photos can help them get a healthy dose of nature to brighten their day.
iNaturalist – Become a Citizen Scientist! Observe locally and identify globally by snapping pictures of local flora and fauna in The Woodlands. Download the app, snap a picture, receive help identifying species and contribute to global research.
Birding – Here is a resource from Texas Parks & Wildlife to get you started. Grocery stores often have laminated guides in the checkout lines.