I walked a quarter mile the other day, and it took 135 squats with my camera to capture the following images. One walk, one day, along one side of one road, in one small town in Texas. I live in the Hickory Creek watershed. When it rains, the trash in my roadside ditch will make it's way into a stream that feeds Hickory Creek, which feeds the Trinity River, which flows to Trinity Bay in the Gulf of Mexico, where the gulf stream will take my marine debris to the North Atlantic Gyre. That garbage is probably going to see more of the world than I ever will!
In the Atlantic, the trash will meet up with pollutants from the roadsides of Europe, the Caribbean, and the East Coast of North America, resulting in a big plastic party in the North Atlantic Garbage Patch. We don't know what all the implications of that garbage patch will be, but we already know what ocean plastic does to these cute baby albatross.
We create this shit. You and me. The refuse on my roadside wasn't thrown out the window by some careless asshole. That garbage came from my trash cans, and my neighbor's recycling bins, and the waste management trucks that just can't seem to contain quite everything. That trash is my trash. And it's yours.
Here's the trash I found on my walk:
That trash bag there was filled up by the time I got 1/4-mile down the road, so I carried it straight home without picking up the other side of the road. As I was walking a few cars drove by, slowed down, and checked me out. I'm pretty sure they thought I was a vagrant. I guess that's more likely than a neighbor who picks up trash in the rain.