Trash Continues to Pile Up On Campus

Davis Louie

Alex Seclow

There is a huge problem of excess trash in the world. There is so much that a collection of plastic debris twice the size of Texas known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has formed. According to www.earthresourcesrecycling.com, created by the GreenWise Company, the average American will leave a legacy of 112,420 pounds of trash behind for his or her children. Landfills are overflowing as our amount of trash is exponentially increasing. Miramonte is no exception.

After lunch, half-eaten cafeteria food, paper and plastic bags, water bottles, crumpled wrappers, banana peels and other food remnants line tables and benches on Miramonte’s campus.

According to Principal Adam Clark, trash at Miramonte is a major issue. Clark was shocked to discover that students neglect to throw out their trash, even when a trashcan lies five feet away. Clark thought that trash might be a freshmen problem, but was amazed to find out that trash is evenly spread out all over Miramonte’s campus, not just in the areas where freshmen frequently sit.

“Miramonte is a beautiful school,” said Clark. “Students need to have a great pride in their school and should want to keep it looking nice. We also need to influence one another and remind one another to pick up our trash.”

At Miramonte, budget cuts have caused the district to cut back on the number of custodians. Lately, it takes custodians over an hour after lunch to pick up students’ waste.

“The trash here is pretty bad,” said a Miramonte custodian. “After Powder Puff there was trash everywhere on the quad. We have only one custodian on duty at night, so we all have to take on the extra work. I am hustling all day long. I have to fight to get out of here by 3:30.”

Clark and others in the administration have ordered more trashcans and have started patrolling around during lunch to remind students to throw out their trash. Clark claims that he has already begun to see a slight improvement on campus.

“Picking up your trash may seem small, but if everyone does, there can be huge results”, said Clark. “Students can learn a lesson from this. We only have one world, so let’s take care of it. You students will be our future leaders. You are the leaders of tomorrow. You will be the future policy makers, lawyers, and doctors that will set the trends.”

Clark has decided that only once the trash problem is solved will he consider the possibility of adding another school dance.

“If we’re having a hard time picking up trash, our own trash, should we have more dances?” said Clark.

Clark believes that in order to ask teachers and staff to come out on their own time to help with the dances, the trash problem will definitely need to be solved.

“We all love Miramonte, right? Everyone loves Miramonte, it’s a great place and we want it to be the best it can possibly be,” said Clark. “I am open to discussing [the dances], but the trash will have to be dealt with first.”

AP Environmental Science teacher Barbara Denny described waste at Miramonte as an ongoing problem. She said that she also found that students often don’t use the recycling bins. Last year Miramonte received an additional 50 recycling bins so Denny believes that there is “no excuse” to not recycle. She has also found over the years that students continue to incorrectly recycle items, such as plastic bags, that belong in the trash. She is worried about the extra work for the custodians when there are fewer of them. She and the other teachers believe the students need to be more appreciative of what they do for our campus.

Denny encourages students to sign up for the Environmental Club, Interact, and Sustainability Club if they are interested in doing more to help limit Miramonte’s waste.

“There are many ways students can help lessen the amount of trash they generate,” said Denny. “They can work to make a more sustainable lunch by using reusable lunch bags, plastic containers for sandwiches, and reusable water bottles such as Klean Kanteen or Sigg.”

Denny stresses that these little steps will help make Miramonte a better place.