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Impact of Littering on the Environment

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 1763 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Have you ever seen an animal choking on a piece of litter? Why should an animal die because of a humans laziness? E very year the ocean winds up having 1.4 billion pounds of litter. Much of the litter sink to the bottom of the sea but some also stays at the surface. As many as 100,000 animals die each year because of human littering. Not only does littering cause animals death it also pollutes the very own waters we use in our daily lives. Today, 60% of water pollution materializes from things like litter and trash, and pet waste. All the different types of sources gathered together become a huge pollution problem. So, in reality the biggest source of water pollution in our world today is not the business companies or factories, but the very households we live in.

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When debris like cigarette butts, bottles, and plastic bags, are tossed onto the ground, it all gets washed into storm drains and goes directly into the very own waterways we use. Like I was saying before, in addition to potentially suffocating, disabling, or choking aquatic life like turtles, fish, ducks, and even birds. Litter in the waterways decreases oxygen levels in water when it decays causing our ecosystems not to work properly.

Tobacco has been known to be the most littered item. According to studies tabacco consist of  38% of  litter. Paper come in at a close second being 22% of litter. Plastic comes in at 19% and all other is 10%. It is said to me that men are 21% more likely to litter then women. This makes sense because men are 6% more likely to smoke tobacco than women.

Now lets not consider all the trash around the world. In America more than 250 millions tons of trash is produced yearly. Imagine all that trash, where does it go? 

43% of Americans admit to littering. The good news for us here in the US is that we are gradually decreasing how much we litter. According to KAB.org the actual amount of overall litter counted has gone down by 61% since 1969. Here in America we have a non-profit organization that is dedicated to beautification of, waste reduction/recycling, and community improvement through the prevention of litter which is Keep America Beautiful (KAB). KAB has been around since 1953. It has grown into the nation’s largest leading involvement organization for our communities. Currently the organization has more than 1,200 local affiliates and organizations that participate with them. Although litter found has gone down in percentage, the overall plastic litter has drastically increased by a total of 165% since the year 1969. These results suggest that litter along roadways has indeed gone down by 61% between the years of 1969 and 2009. The reductions of litter has gone down in metal by 88%, glass has dropped down 86%.

The overall littering and lotter rates has decreased in the last 40 years, but it still has remained a problem in today’s world. In the litter characterization study, visible roadside litter was found to have decreased by about 61% since 1968.  Despite these grate improvements, litter does remain an important problem.

Now let’s consider the trash in the very community you live in now. Go outside, how much trash in on the ground? Is there trash? Of course there is. Why? Because people do not pick up after themselves. Studies have shown that people either do not pick up after themselves because they just do not care or laziness. Many times a trash can is available in about 10 steps from where you are.

There are multiple ways to fix the problem we have with littering. The easiest way starts with you. Even if only one piece of litter is picked up every day, you are still doing something to promote a cleaner planet. Simply just throw away your own trash. You can even start at home, when you put your garbage outside on the street to be picked up, make sure to that you secure the trash within the trash can using a bag for the trash. Trash that is not in the garbage bag has a greater risk of missing the truck and being thrown into the environment. Also always make sure that your trash cans have lids on them.

 Do not stop there, if someone is not picking up after themselves just do it. It does not take that much effort to throw away their trash. Second, do not leave it for someone else to do just because “ it is their job” or “ that is what they are getting paid for.” those are no excuses. If people see you picking up after yourself that might motivate them to do the same as well. Children play an important role in keeping our plants clean since they will be the future of our world. Children absorb good and bad habits from the elders. So, if they grow accustomed to using the garbage-can, only then the children will also contribute good habit, and instead of throwing garbage anywhere, they would use trash cans to dispose of trash.

Secondly, remind people of the consequences the environment will face because of littering. If anyone litters, you can simply explain to them how that one piece of garbage has a huge environmental impact. Explain how throwing litter on the ground may not seem like much at the time it’s being done, but that one piece of litter is usually blown and ends up in a river, streams, or even the ocean. In addition to that, litter does indeed put animals in danger and under crucial circumstances kill the animals, because they might ingest or get caught in the piece of litter. Remind others that even if they do not see what happens, litter thrown on the floor will at some point become the problem of another human or even an animal.

Thirdly talk with people about the fines and jail time they may face if they are caught littering, that should give people a good reasonable reason to get rid of their trash efficiently and properly. Every state in the United States has created laws for littering. According to Bess Ruff author of “ How to Take Action to Prevent Littering”  if you are caught littering, you will most likely have to pay a fine that can range anywhere from $100 up to $1,000. The website ncsl.org states that here in California your first conviction of littering is a fine between $100 and $1,000, and at least eight hours of litter cleanup. The second conviction is a fine between $500 and $1,000, and at least 16 hours of litter cleanup. Any additional convictions result in a fine between $750 and $1,000, and at least 24 hours of litter cleanup. Be sure to warn people about the littering laws when littering, because they are technically breaking the law.

To take grater steps cities should put more trash can throughout the city. The government should also take charge and be more strict on littering laws. If we had stricter laws and enforcement people would not be throwing their trash around everywhere and anywhere.

Works Cited

Revermann, Susan. “How Does Littering Affect the Environment?” Education, Susan Revermann, 21 Nov. 2017, education.seattlepi.com/littering-affect-environment-6802.html.

The article starts by stating different places where litter can be found and how it affects the area it is in also stating how litter cost a lot to pick up. This source will be help full inevidence for the essay because it helps me elaborate on how litter is affecting everything around us. It also states how it cost a lot to clean us which we do not really have the money for therefore causing more problems. Susan Revermann is a writer for the Seattle Pi which is a website that gives information on all the news and topics around the world and locally.

Lake, Rebecca. “23 Littering Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind.” CreditDonkey, Rebecca Lake, www.creditdonkey.com/littering-statistics.html.

The article begins with giving stats on trash in America. From there it goes on to tell how litter comes to be and where it is more common in. This is a good article on litter because it helps build and idea of what litter is doing to not only in our communities but also globally. Also it helps us understand how litter is doing more harm than we can physically see “…70% sinks straight to the bottom. “ Rebecca Lake, is a financial journalist from North Carolina. She has a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of South Carolina. She covers the intersection of public policy and personal finance.

Irving, Catherine. “The Effects of Littering on the Environment & Animals.” Sciencing, Catherine Irving, 2 Mar. 2019, sciencing.com/effects-littering-environment-animals-8634413.html.

The article states the different types of materials littered, explaining how it affects the environment. The article explains how water pollutants affects everything in this world. This is a good essay on the long lasting effects of litter, not only that but it discusses what effect it has on animals. Susan Revermann is a travel and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York and has been professionally freelance writing since 2002.

“20 Astonishing Facts About Littering.” Conserve Energy Future, Rinkesh, 3 Jan. 2017, www.conserve-energy-future.com/various-littering-facts.php.

 The article begins with stating what litter is and why it is caused and then continues with facts about littering. This article has helpful information explaining how littering is cause “ Laziness “. Not only does it give examples but extra information on the background of the cause. This information can be used, given as how smokers are a main reason for littering making tobacco making it a  major part of litter. Rinkesh founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment.


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