Field Guide to Trash of Armenia
(copyright © 2009 - 2013) All Photographs by Jeff Acopian
Armenia’a beautiful landscape is under assault on many fronts. For example, thoughtless mining and road building can destroy forests and other natural areas. There appears to be nothing the concerned citizen can do to prevent or stop this type of destruction. But littering can relatively easily be cleaned up and stopped. All it would take is the determination of each citizen.
This Field Guide is a humorous attempt to showcase the litter problem in Armenia.
Most countries have a litter problem to some degree. Armenia would most certainly be a finalist in a competition for “The Country with the Most Widespread Trash”. Armenia has an extreme case of trashitis.
Introduction (Trash 101 in Armenia)
cigarette butt (always easily found, can cause forest fires)
The cigarette butt is used in most photos as a standard reference. This is very handy because everyone knows the size of a cigarette butt, so the scale of the trash being photographed can readily be determined. Using the cigarette butt as a reference has the added advantage because cigarette butts are almost always close at hand; whenever we want to photograph trash, there is almost always a cigarette butt close by on the ground that can be picked up for use in the photo.
A very good reason to curtail the habit of disposing cigarette butts helter-skelter, among other reasons, is to prevent forest fires. Some forests in the south of Armenia have been destroyed as a result of cigarette butts being carelessly thrown on the ground. And there are precious few natural forest areas left in Armenia.
Requires less equipment than for birdwatching.
Binoculars or any other type of special equipment is not needed for field observations of trash. It is easy to observe anywhere, anytime. For observing birds, binoculars with a power from 6X to 10X are recommended, or for butterfly observing a ‘close focusing’ pair of binoculars is recommended. Fortunately, when observing trash in the field, most of the time, binoculars are not needed. The sightings are usually right under foot.
Any day in the field is sure to be a good day. You will always have many sightings!
There are many opportunities to make good observations from car windows or while walking almost anywhere.
- Animal (Kingdom Animalia)
- Plant (Kingdom Plantae),
- Man-made (Kingdom Anthropogenica)
Families in the Kingdom Anthropogenica
Grants - Apply to Armenian Government
Species Photos of Trash in Armenia
(real garbage, not studio shots)
Endemic Rubbish in Armenia (Regional, National)
Municipal Trash in Armenia
How would YOU stop the littering problem in Armenia?
Armenian Litterbugs: A film by 15-year-old Ani Acopian
This July I took a trip to Meghri, Armenia, where I met a group of kids at their local swimming pool. I went swimming with them, and soon enough we got to know each other. In order to document the littering problem in Armenia, I turned my camera on, gave them ice cream, and watched as they carelessly threw their wrappers on the ground. The next day I made another visit dressed as the "Trash Police" and got all the kids to clean up the park around the swimming pool. I passed out trash bags and to my surprise they actually were excited about cleaning up. I rewarded them with ice cream--this time they threw away the wrappers in their trash bags! I hope that the little lesson I taught will stay with them. The smallest act can spark awareness. The Acopian Center for the Environment made this experience possible and today is working to raise awareness about conservation in Armenia. Learn how to help the Acopian Center.
Range Maps are not included in this Field Guide because just about every type of trash can be found almost anywhere. GPS coordinates of documented locations of trash records are not included because there would not be enough room in the computer data base to store these records. Also, if these records were published in book form, “The Field Guide to Trash of Armenia” would be too large to be carried in the field.
Hunting is Encouraged
We encourage hunting trash to the point of extinction.