Is Arkansas Really the Natural State?

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Is Arkansas Really the Natural State?

US citizen throwing trash out of their car window, polluting the city.

US citizen throwing trash out of their car window, polluting the city.

Via Google

US citizen throwing trash out of their car window, polluting the city.

Via Google

Via Google

US citizen throwing trash out of their car window, polluting the city.

Joia Traver, Reporter/Photographer

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Arkansas, “the natural state”, or that’s at least what it is is labeled as on license plates and welcome signs. Filled with beautiful lakes, winding rivers, and natural parks, it truly satisfies the expectations of the Ozarks and visiting tourists. In northern Arkansas, locals get to enjoy the many summer activities that come with geographical features, and some are even available year-round. When it is warm enough for lake and river activities, many people can enjoy the excitement of catching their first fish, or perhaps the refreshing water of the lake in mid-August. During the cool days of autumn and winter, locals may take up a short hike on the many trails or even camp in the remote locations of the Ozarks. Water sports dominate the Norfork and Bull Shoals Lake in the summer with sport boats producing even more obstacles for the brave aqua-athletes. Each feature of Arkansas in itself contributes to the beautiful, landscape image that is this countryside state. Here, the industrial metropolitan skyscrapers turn into great oaks that tower overhead as a protection from the outside world. Rivulets of water pollution and factory waste of the city purifies into roaring river and streams that seem to sigh exhales of relief for the oncoming serenity. Citizens and tourists that come to Arkansas are very lucky to get to experience the natural beauty of the country itself. 

  So how is it possible that some people seem to have no consideration for the numerous pieces of trash that they so carelessly toss into rivers, lakes, roadsides, and even out the window of their car? Do they think there is no consequence to their actions?  If there is an answer it goes way beyond by my sense of moral ethics. Although there is no need to get all “Save the turtles!” and shove metal straws in people’s faces, maybe there is some meaning behind the latest trend. With the increase of plastic use, there are already so many pieces of trash that have no way of biodegrading, and yet it just keeps adding up. In local areas, lakes like Norfork and Bull Shoals are taking the biggest hit, especially with water levels rising again and no one on it to help clean. There are many reasons to try and prevent these areas from getting trashed, from environmental to appearance to even economical factors. Being named the Trout Capital of the world, Cotter has it’s perks on the White River, but it has been stained with the hundred pieces of trash that float down the crystalline water. Not only does this disrupt the natural aesthetic of the scenery, but it also has negative effects on the natural life living in those areas. Many of the streams and flows of this river eventually bypass agricultural fields that play an important factor in Arkansas’ largest industry, so this pollution is not only dominant in one area. 

So what can you do about all of this? There are many community services that have events to clean roadsides, and some large groups volunteer to contribute to these as well, however, you do not have to be a member to participate and minimal efforts always count. Things as simple as picking up after yourself and keeping things clean can make a very large difference with just a small action. Recycling anything from cardboard boxes to any type of plastic to glass bottles is welcome at the many recycling centers in Mountain Home, and this is a great way to reduce the trash can might end up in the community somehow. The most important fragment to the solution of litter in our communities is simply awareness. If every single person in our public would see the effects and understand how simple it is to contribute, Arkansas can finally live back to its true nickname again.