While walking through the various streets of Nepal, it is not uncommon to witness heaps of trash ablaze on the side of the road or stray dogs rummaging through a family’s leftover dinner. At first, these sights shocked me, as I am accustomed to my trash being taken care of in a discreet manner; every Tuesday morning the garbage man collects my family and I’s waste from the curb, never to be seen again. From that point on, we no longer have control over how our waste is taken care of. Depending on where you are from, that trash is either chucked in a landfill or incinerator, and mostly likely, eventually sent in bulk to developing countries. Due to these hands-off methods of disposal, Americans, myself included, lose responsibility for what waste we are producing.
Over the course of a week, our group was tasked to collect and keep track of our trash. By the end of the week, some of my trash included things like an empty toothpaste container, call cards, and crumpled candy bar wrappers. While some of these trash items are considered necessities, other components in my bag I did not need to have consumed. The activity, coupled with the constant reminder of trash from the different roadsides and alleyways, opened my eyes and forced me to become more aware of what I am expending. Now, while it is impossible for any human to completely eradicate all our their waste, every time I am at a shop, market, or restaurant, I will be more cautious and considerate about what I am consuming.