I came across this image from Facebook that depicted a rabbit cadaver cut in half that showed the contents of its stomach… which consisted of cigarette butts. This was pretty surprising to me at first because I wouldn’t think animals are attracted to the smell of smoke, let alone eat it! However, I’ve seen over the years all these videos of sea creatures accidentally ingesting what humans litter (i.e. plastic bags, straws, other plastic products that are indigestible that end up just sitting in their stomachs), so sadly it’s not surprising to see that image of the rabbit today.
I am going to graduate school for Public Health, and I think that sanitation is definitely a top priority that humans need to focus on, since we share the earth with so many animals and things of nature! It’s saddening to see that our manmade products are causing so many animals to die, either because they are being poisoned, or because they’re eating indigestible non-food products that sit in their stomach and make them think they are full so they end up starving to death, among other reasons.
Depending on the area where you reside, there are certain laws that are in place for littering. I hear in Singapore, the laws are extremely strict about littering (and even spitting!), while in NYC, we have fines for people who litter (however, I don’t really see any law enforcement officials enforcing it…). One of our biggest problems in the city is probably our lack of trash bins that are accessible. Plus the fact that some people are too lazy to hold onto their trash or recycle/compost when needed -.- (NYC, get on the composting train!!!) After more than 20 years living in NYC, I noticed that we don’t have cigarette bins readily available for people to properly dispose of their butts, and very rarely do I see buildings provide it for their employees.
I wrote this post because I feel really strongly about people who litter… there are people who literally will not carry their trash to the garbage can that is down the block and would rather just chuck it to the curb because it’s “convenient” for them. It makes me so sad to know that our soda cans’ plastic “wrapping” is one of the leading things that choke animals. We have the power to cut that plastic so animals can’t get stuck; we have the power to buy reusable products and cut down on plastic products that often just remain on earth for eons; we have the power (and duty) to responsibly throw away our trash, or recycle, or compost when appropriate. It may not seem like much to hold onto your gum wrapper to throw away in an actual garbage can or to say no to using a straw in a restaurant, but if everyone in the world started to consciously think about what they are throwing away and how they throw it away, it would make an enormous difference!