Hiking is becoming increasingly popular, especially as it is practically a year-round sport. However, the best season is of course spring and summer to get maximum pleasure and benefit from it. Anyone who enjoys hiking has surely sometimes wondered if should I pick up trash while hiking? It is known that ecology is an important issue in everyone’s life, so how does this aspect look when hiking?
So should I pick up trash while hiking? The fact is that for each of us, the issue of environmental protection should be very important, and everyone should help in their way as much as they can. Hiking combined with a waste collection is also becoming more and more popular.
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Hiking and collecting rubbish?
Probably more than once while walking or hiking, you have come across more or less rubbish along the way. This is a very unpleasant sight, as many hikers throw away empty food packaging along the way. Whether you are in the mountains or the forest, you will hardly find a rubbish bin there. It may not be necessary for everyone to pick up trash while hiking, but the most important thing is not to leave any litter yourself.
The area in question is usually protected in the same way as national parks or some other place of public access, which means that someone usually takes care of the cleanliness there. When you go for a hike or a walk and want to eat something in the countryside, it is best to prepare one bag just for rubbish, which you will have with you all the time and only throw away in the rubbish bin. Whether you should collect rubbish may be an individual question, but note that hiking and collecting rubbish do not have to be unpleasant.
How does waste harm our nature?
Aesthetic issues are the first and most obvious reason. Who would want to see rubbish strewn everywhere on a hike? It looks bad, smells bad, and spoils the whole atmosphere of nature. These are just visual aspects, but the worst thing is that rubbish, especially unnatural rubbish such as plastic or plastic sheeting, is very harmful to nature and animals.
These harmful effects include:
- Creating a danger for animals, which mistake the waste left behind for food and often die after consuming it. Plastic, foil, various types of packaging, etc. are particularly harmful
- Left-over rainfall and rubbish can degrade the habitats of the animals concerned and, in the long term, contribute to their extinction
- Chemical waste, is the most harmful to water management, but also the soil. Different types of chemicals, detergents, or harmful substances decompose or mix with water, resulting in contamination
- Plastics take from a few hundred to up to 1000 years to decompose, so this is a long-term problem for many generations
- Waste poisons surface and groundwater, which is particularly dangerous in the case of electronic waste, car batteries, chemical waste, etc. – their parts contain very harmful heavy metals, causing contamination and even ecological disasters
Unfortunately, while hiking we may come across various types of pollution, which effectively destroys the fauna and flora of a given place. If we notice a larger amount of harmful waste, which can cause major contamination, we can even inform the relevant services. Whether we should pick up trash while hiking is up to us and is becoming increasingly popular. There is even a separate name for this type of activity, a combination of hiking and litter picking, and this is Plogging.
Some people are even using their efforts to create a social media channel around saving nature while hiking, and that is a great idea for becoming an influencer.
What should I not do while hiking?
We already know that whether I should pick up trash while hiking would be welcome, not only for the safety of the environment but also for our own. However, not everyone needs to pick up pounds of rubbish on every hike, but it is important not to litter ourselves or pay attention when others do. Let’s set a good example, even on our hikes, and let’s pay attention to the few important things we shouldn’t do. These are, above all:
1) Don’t litter – above all, don’t leave any kind of empty packaging, bottles, plastic bags, or glass in a place where it shouldn’t be. Whether you are in the mountains, the forest, the seaside, or the jungle, keep clean and only dispose of used products in the appropriate container.
2) Don’t make noise, remember that depending on the environment you are in, whether it is a forest or the mountains, there may be some animals. We don’t always have to see them, as they are naturally afraid of humans, so don’t frighten or annoy them, unfortunately, you can often see videos of irresponsible tourists.
3) Stick to the designated trail, especially if you are in a rather unusual terrain where it is easy to get lost. Besides, there may be rivers of various animals around the path, and sometimes they can be dangerous for example a bear or a moose.
4) Do not light a campfire in places where you are not allowed to do so, sometimes there is also no official ban, but you should not do this either. Especially in summer, depending on the region, temperatures can be high, also glass left on fire can lead to fires, every year hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest burn due to various natural and unnatural causes.
5) Especially watch out for protected species, every year many animal species decline, often irretrievably, and it will not be possible to restore them. So don’t pick flowers and protected plants, nature is beautiful and especially when you are hiking you can admire it.
When it comes to responsible behavior on hikes and walks, these few points are very important. One of the most important is not to pollute the environment of animals, whether it is water or land. In my opinion, picking up trash while hiking is very necessary, every year during world earth day more and more people join this action.
In Summary – Should I pick up trash while hiking?
We already know that whether I should pick up trash while hiking is a very important issue and is very useful. Not all of us need to go out with a bag and pick up trash while hiking, but just reducing the production of new rubbish and bringing it to the attention of others is very important. Whether we are in the mountains, in the forest, or by the sea, the sight of lying waste and suffering because of it is very scary.
If hiking is your hobby, try to reduce the amount of disposable packaging you take with you as much as possible, and then of course take the empty packaging with you and dispose of it in the appropriate bin. Let’s be responsible and set a good example for others, hiking is becoming more and more popular and if you want to find out why your friend might not like going hiking with you, you can read about “Why My Friends Don’t Like To Hike With Me?“.