Friday Chewable: Keeping Our Planet Clean

Welcome to our all-new series called Friday Chewable: Food for Thought. Once per month we will post a new topic to open your mind, challenge your ideas or just give you something to think about over the weekend.

The first installment of Food for Thought deals with litter.


For many, littering is absolutely unacceptable and unthinkable. We, Mike and Tara, fall into that category and always hold onto our garbage until we find a trashcan to throw it away in. However, the people of many developing countries we visited do not share that mentality.

If garbage cans even exist throughout a city, they are completely ignored, as evidenced by the left-side photo (This is not exclusive to India, where this photo was taken. We witnessed this in many countries.). Countless people throw plastic bags of waste into waterways, out bus windows and onto the street. Numerous reasons could come into play, but mostly it comes down to education, attitude and enforcement.

Before heading out for a run on the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland, USA, we saw the sign in the photo to the right. Even though there were no garbage cans along the path, there was no trash on the ground. No one walks the length of the canal to police visitors, but the mentality of those visitors is obviously different. They could easily toss tissues and food wrappers onto the dirt but choose not to.

Different Mentalities About Waste Around the World

Are trash-free sidewalks something you often take for granted? We used to. After stepping over (and on) trash for months, we are thankful to live in a country that makes such a big deal out of littering that it fines people who do so. Is this topic something you ever gave much thought to? What are some other things you think you take for granted?


2 responses to “Friday Chewable: Keeping Our Planet Clean

  1. This is the number one thing that has bothered me whilst we’ve been travelling. You see some beautiful scenery that is gradually being destroyed due to dumping rubbish. We met a girl on our travels who had asked a woman in India why no one cared and she responded with “all I care about is feeding my children”. I didn’t know what to think about this but one thing we’ve realised is that a lot of countries don’t have the foresight to see what they’re doing to their land in the long term.

    • Completely agree! It’s especially heartbreaking to go to a world heritage site, for example, and see trash everywhere. What I also don’t understand is how people are ok with living among it. Doesn’t it smell? When we were enroute from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang, we stopped by a cliff and when we looked over, the whole side and bottom was covered with rubbish. So instead of living among it, people dumped it off the edge.

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