What is Littering?

Litter is nothing but a piece of waste or rubbish that has been disposed improperly, without consent and at wrong location. Littering simply means throwing away objects on the ground or leaving them lying on the ground instead of disposing them at garbage can, recycling bin or trash container. The waste that originates from houses, industries, factories should be placed either in recycling bin or waste to energy plant or at a site meant for disposing garbage.

Litter can originate from construction and demolition sites, households, industries, uncovered trucks, pedestrians, and moving vehicles. Apart from that, unavailability of garbage bin and being too lazy to walk till trash container are other reasons for littering. Uncovered trucks, pedestrians and moving vehicles are some other

As far as littering effects are concerned, it has economic, legal and environmental impact in the form of spending millions of dollars in cleaning up litter, huge fine if caught littering from vehicle and damage to our surroundings that can have effect plants and animals and can cause loss to local tourism industry.

Litter

Plain and simple, littering is wrong. We have trash and garbage cans for a reason, so why throw away your trash on the ground when you could throw it away in its intended place? People still litter, largely for the following reasons:

–          Laziness

–          The area is already messy, why bother finding a trash can?

–          People don’t realize that with littering, there do come consequences

–          The garbage cans are already overflowing

–          The garbage cans have a note stating that they are for specific trash only

–          My neighbor litters, so do I!

–          What’s your problem?

–          Really? It’s just one paper!

–          People are starving in Africa! What do you care about littering?

–          I’m drunk

–          The garbage can is too far away

The list could really go on forever. People come up with countless excuses to throw their piece of trash down on the ground instead of taking the short amount of time to find a garbage can and properly throw it away. But littering does have consequences, and here are some facts that may surprise you. They include, but are not limited to, ecological, financial and lawful consequences:

Facts of Littering

1. Litter does cause severe accidents. All that it takes is for some trash in the road and it’s a car accident waiting to happen.  Whether it’s because somebody drove their tiny Toyota Prius over a wooden crate on the road or somebody swerves their RV to avoid the trash, you can indirectly cause a car accident by littering on the road. Car accidents lead to severe injuries and even deaths.

2. Household waste, industrial waste, construction waste and other like packaging waste are most common types of sources of litter.

3. It’s illegal. Though the fines vary by state and by city and county, you will be charged if you are caught littering.

4. It doesn’t look to nice. Places with high littering are also often riddled with crime, less values on homes and property, and are more likely to be the site of fires. You could ultimately end up losing money on your house,

5. It’s expensive…very expensive. Ever year millions upon millions of dollars are spent cleaning up litter. This money should be going to more productive things, but instead, people don’t realize that something as small as littering done on a mass scale does indeed affect them. Taxpayers’ dollars are being spent on littering as we speak. If you want that to stop, then set an example. Quit littering and encourage others to do the same. It’s the people like you who can make a difference.

6. Litter on the ground degrades natural areas and kills plants and animals. All that it takes is for a cat to get stuck in a bottle or a bird getting caught up in a soda can holder.

7. A very large majority of Americans have admitted to littering in their lifetimes. The average American only walks a few steps before dumping their trash on the ground without even searching for a garbage can.

8. Billions of tons of litter are dumped into the ocean each year, and it is more than the 250 million trashes that is being generated each year too. When you toss your garbage on the sidewalk or on the highway, you may in reality be throwing it away into the Atlantic. This leads to the repeated killing of fish on a daily basis and the gradual depletion of marine life. Believe it or not, the litter we produce are causing more underwater species to become endangered.

9. Cigarette butts make up over half of our littered objects, and they take a grand total of ten years to decompose because of a cellulose acetate, contrary to the popular perception that cigarette butts decompose very quickly in only a matter of days. In reality, cigarette butts are a serious threat to the environment.

10. The main causes of littering are laziness, ignorance, people don’t realize the effects of littering, the bins are dirty and not big enough, there are enough bins and moreover those bins aren’t emptied often enough, poor parenting and education, there is no fine for littering, one person can’t make a difference, no sense of pride, not bothered about effects of littering.

Littering

11. The most common littered objects include the following in descending order: fast food, paper, aluminium, glass, and plastic. It turns out someone would rather toss their burger wrapper and empty soda on the street than find a garbage can, and not surprisingly, this is done on roadside and highways.

12. Litter spoils water quality. The hazardous waste seeps into soil and can cause ground water pollution.

13. Litter can be controlled. People need to be educated regarding ill effects of littering. Education plays an important role here. Children needs to be taught at elementary level as how littering can can cause environmental impact. They can also teach others they see littering and and teach them to dispose of garbage the right way.

14. Litter is smelly and dirty and can be dangerous and unhealthy for our environment. It affects communities and people who live there. It could be poisonous for plants and animals. It can have a severe impact on tourism.

15. Littering can carry germs, bacteria, and viruses. One of the harmful germs is Scavengers. They can have devastating effect on the crops as cattle are susceptible from ingesting the chemical objects or even metal of the garbage.

16. Fast food wrappers and aluminium cans are two most common type of items that are found while cleaning litter.

17. Litter when not covered on a truck bed can cause it to blow out without the driver knowing.

18. Do not throw litter from a vehicle as it may cause damage to surroundings and can have a bad effect on local tourism industry.

19. Litter can hamper economic development of a community. When new businesses look for a dynamic growing community where their businesses can grow, they would hardly be interested in setting up new ventures, if they see a lot of litter around.

20. Reducing litter is just a 3 step process: stop littering, pick up litter, report if you find someone littering illegally.

Image credit: biketourist , marke1

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.