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Urgent Call To Action: One Earth, One Eastern

Miah Massaro | Contributing Writer

As a resident at Eastern Connecticut State University and an ambassador for 4Ocean, an environmental organization that works to reduce the amount of pollution in our oceans, I am repeatedly faced with the fact that our campus needs greater sustainability practices. I have been devoted to encouraging other students to live in an eco-friendly manner, but as continuous concerns of our planet's survival arise, it is crucial that Eastern firmly addresses one of the most pressing issues within our society today: environmental sustainability. The inattentive habits of students at Eastern contributes to the declining health of our planet, and practicing sustainable behavior now will help our community implement eco-friendly practices into their everyday lives outside of college as well.

In early 2022, the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) placed emphasis on the fact that Connecticut is in a waste crisis. Though landfills and incinerators are approaching their end, the NVCOG has expressed how, “Connecticut is running out of capacity to handle its garbage. We are producing more waste than ever.” As I walk around campus, I tend to see overflowing trash cans, as well as the larger dumpster bins behind the buildings packed to the brim with items that were evidently not properly sorted. Although Eastern’s website informs us about the waste crisis in Connecticut, students are not being educated on how they should be discarding their trash and food waste.

Since 2020, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has been trying to express the rising concerns about the waste crisis Connecticut is facing. Tricia Ennis, a writer for the Inside Investigator, wrote an article explaining how, “Connecticut was once shipping out 17% of its waste, that number has grown to 40%.” Much of what Connecticut residents put into their recycling bins is “made up of food wrappers, which often cannot be recycled due to contamination… [and] the majority of plastic packaging has little to no market in the recycling stream and ends up in landfills despite consumer efforts.” It was also revealed that “22% of all trash is made up of compostable food and yard scraps that could be reduced if they were separated [at home].” Statistics and information such as this paint a clear picture of the environmental challenges we are up against. However, I firmly believe that with awareness and concerted effort, we can begin to see change.

Students at Eastern need to be informed about the sustainable measures they can take. Simple, easy action from Eastern could be putting posters in all the dorm rooms in a communal area explaining how to properly dispose of waste. Eastern has partnered with CLiCK recently, an organization that encourages composting food waste, and there are composting options available for students living on Eastern’s campus. Despite offering such an eco-friendly way of disposal, a wide range of students are not aware Eastern provides composting options for students living on campus, and many may not even know how to properly compost. Our campus needs to strongly invest in the proper education of sustainable practices, especially as a school that prides itself on being a green campus.

We must work together to not only help Eastern thrive, but the Earth. If we collaborate as a team and utilize the resources we have at our hands, it is possible that the future may look a whole lot greener.


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