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Pollution: A Growing Issue

Photo: Maddie Bockus & Ashley Anglisano

Photo: Maddie Bockus & Ashley Anglisano

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In the 21st century world that we live in, pollution is all around us and is a part of our daily lives. The pollution that is most commonly seen in town consists of litter and illegal dumping. However, this type of pollution is more controllable than most might think. In order to improve the cleanliness of the environment that we live in, behavior and mindsets must change.

Marilyn Cruz-Aponte, Assistant Director of Public Works in East Hartford and former Director of Public Works in Hartford, believes that in order to prevent litter and illegal dumping, the mindsets of people must first be addressed. She said, “it’s behavior. Somewhere along the line there is a disconnect between what you consume and your responsibility [to properly dispose of the waste].” Litter most often occurs as a result of people not being responsible for the waste that they create and simply not thinking of the consequences of leaving behind trash. This behavior must be addressed and can be changed through education and spreading awareness of means for properly disposing waste. “Behavior is part of litter, lack of education and understanding how litter impacts the environment,” said Cruz-Aponte.

Photo: Maddie Bockus & Ashley Anglisano
The Connecticut River. Taken in East Hartford, CT.

Packaging is a major contributor to litter and the increase in pollution that we are seeing in today’s society. Companies are producing products with an excess of packaging. “The more packaging you have, the more likely somebody is going to get rid of that packaging,” said Cruz-Aponte. An excess amount of packaging means a stronger probability that the packaging will be improperly disposed and that there will be a larger amount of litter.

However, there is a potential solution to this packaging issue, called extended producer responsibility. This system makes corporations responsible for the waste created from their products, which would include the packaging of the product. This system encourages companies to reduce the amount of packaging on their products and also lifts the burden of waste disposal from consumers.

Photo: Maddie Bockus & Ashley Anglisano
The Connecticut River. Taken in East Hartford, CT.

Packaging and behavior contribute to the issue of litter that we face in town and even in our own school. A question must be asked, according to Cruz-Aponte: “What are the expectations that we have in our town? Do we expect… that people’s behavior and our expectations of that behavior are set out publicly?” This question must be asked by the residents of the town of Manchester and by the students of Manchester High School. It is essential that we as students and as the new generation take on the task of fighting pollution and protect the environment. It is within our own control. So next time you are about to leave your Doritos wrapper on the cafeteria floor, stop and think about the consequences of that littering and make the right choice.

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