First, let me start off by saying, we have all seen litter. If you live in the city you see it every day. But, did you know that because of this litter, the litter that is just a part of every day life, there is an island of trash two times the size of Texas floating in the Pacific ocean? Just think about that. You know how big your city is? Now think of your state. Now Texas. Now think of two of Texas side by side. Now imagine that is made of trash. That is a lot of trash, and the sea life is dying because of it. I had heard of this “trash island” before but I found an article on the New York Times website that I found really interesting and informative. You can check that out here.
Litter washed up on shore from the Pacific (Above)
The biggest source of litter is cigarette butts. Though small they can be very dangerous. The butts contain harmful chemicals, including arsenic, that can contaminate water and soil. The problem is that there are so many of them lying on the ground. For example: I was waiting for the bus the other day and saw just a few cigarette butts, but as I looked more, I counted at least 20 of them within 5 feet of me. So now cigarettes can harm us even if we don’t smoke.
Cigarette butts lying in the street (Above)
In doing my research I also found this very interesting website that had tons of information, some of which included a pie chart on the most common litter. I did not realize until later, when I came across the same organization’s clean up project for a different year, that this information was for Australia. It made me realize that littering is not just a problem in America, but around the world, and that other countries have similar organizations that have the same mission. You can check out that website here, and the pdf for their annual “Rubbish Report” here.
My bibliography is on a public google document. You can check it out here.
Does littering irritate you, just as much as it irritates me? Well, it should. Litter irritates everyone. Littering has been around us for centuries and in fact ever since human life came to this world. Littering destroys the beauty of nature of the outdoors. It makes the area look dirty and bad.
Litter just doesn’t appear. It is the result of careless attitudes and improper waste handling. Often people are too lazy to dump their belongings in the trashcans, leaving them the only option to dump it anywhere. Some people, however, may not even know they are littering. Other causes of litter might include inconvenient garbage bin placement or a lack of garbage bin in an area that is frequented by people.
Littering has increased since 21st century, and the things people litter the most are: cigarette ends, boxes, wrappers, matches, lighters, ring pulls, straws, sweet wrappers including crisp bags, pizza boxes, chip wrappers, plastic cutlery, sandwich boxes, paper bags and other discarded food. Additionally, some senseless people also litter food items such as chewing gum and banana skins. Dog fouling is also litter, although it is not actually defined as litter, as it is not caused by people. However, it is the responsibility of dog owners to clean after their dogs foul.
Litter creates a variety of problems. It causes great harm to wildlife. In animals such as birds plastic can cause them to choke when they mistake it for food. Littering can be hazardous to one’s health as well. Trash in an area attracts vermin and bacteria. Broken glass and other sharp objects also cause harm to people when left in public places. And most importantly, no one would like gum on their shoe, when walking on streets.
Littering not only harms our health, but it cost money by preventing communities to attract more business and tourists. It also hurts our communities in ways of the house market by causing owners to lose money. Besides, littering also costs our cities money when in return, these money could be used for more important things. According to Falkirk Council in the United Kingdom, it costs them somewhere around £3 million a year to clean up the mess caused by littering.
There are many ways that we could come up with to stop people from littering. The first way to slow down people from littering is by putting up cameras in places that are being littered in the most. These cameras need to be mobile so that they can be moved around to the places that are being hit the hardest. Another easy and cheap way to stop litter is to pick it up! Not only does this help people, but it also helps plants and animals. You shouldn’t be lazy! If a trashcan is nearby, get your careless butt off the couch, and throw the trash away! To reduce litter even further, take part in community cleanups. The only hard part about this reduction is that if you pick up some litter one day, there might be more the next day! This could be positive though, because picking up litter frequently is a good exercise.
When we throw things out that could have been reused or recycled, it just makes it harder for the earth to stay a healthy place. In order to have clean and healthy environment we need to recycle our waste or use reusable things. For example, instead of throwing plastic and waste paper on the ground, we could just dump it in a bin, so that it can be recycled or when we go to a store, we could carry our own bags, in order to avoid the use of plastic bags provided by the store. When we think of nature, we think of it as beautiful and clean. This is not what is seen today. There is trash everywhere: in streets, on sidewalks and other places where it should not be. Littering effects everyone and everyone litters, so why do we do it? The causes of littering are very simple and easy to establish, while the effects of littering are complex and difficult to deal. So we should put an end to this, so that we can have a better and healthy future.