One piece of trash may not seem like a big deal, but when you compound individual pieces of litter over a global population, and then add time, you get a messy picture very very quickly.
Everyone knows that about hazardous waste, things like chemicals, paint & radioactive stuff that shouldn’t be dumped in “regular” bins, and shouldn’t be disposed in “regular” landfills, but we also know that there is a lot of hazardous trash that is just littered every single day. Things like unused medicines, car batteries & fluids, human & animal waste, etc. Even the most diehard environmentalists & litterpickers refuse to touch that stuff, and for good reason: it’s dangerous.
That’s why trash reporting = hazard reporting. Especially when one considers the longer term cumulative impact of trash on local water and food supplies. Even in the immediate time frame, trash can be deadly if its in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Ever see boxes blowing across a highway and drivers’ reactions to them? People die each day because of that “biodegradable” cardboard box you just drove past. Instead of driving past that box, we think folks should be incentivized for reporting it. It goes without saying, but we’re also knee-deep in thinking up various incentive structures for getting as many “responders” to compete to remove a given hazard or item of trash.
It sounds insurmountable, right? That’s precisely why we need new thinking on this age-old problem.