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Littering: Is It Wrong?

Updated on October 15, 2014
So much garbage. Scary
So much garbage. Scary

What is littering?

Littering is the act of dumping waste products improperly, while litter is the waste itself.

What happens when we litter? It either is left there for a long time unattended or someone cleans it and puts it in a more proper place.

This is a human action, which has a horrid impact on our environment. If left unattended it can take hundreds of years to decompose naturally.

Fun Fact: Cigarette butts are the most littered thing in the whole world. Statistics point that 4.5 trillion butts are littered EVERY YEAR, wow! I used to be guilty of this as well until i quit smoking... We don't even think about it but a cigarette butt may take from 5 to 400 years to decompose naturally.

Where do you dump your butts?

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Effects of litter

Litter is dangerous for people, animals and environments. It endangers everyone.

Effects on people

Litter ruins our health and can poison us in various ways. The problem is how it spreads, especially when industrial companies lay their waste on general grounds that affect the entire population.

Many hazardous material can pollute the air, contaminate soils and water.

One of the things that is dumped the most is tires and it's extremely hazardous. People dump them on many spots and don't give it much thought but they're excellent environments for many disease carrying bugs that bite humans. On top of that, if they're burned they spread a ton of chemicals to the air that are dangerous to us and animals alike.

Economically, is also a great burden. Statistics show, that in the US alone its spent 11 billion dollars yearly on litter cleanup.

Effects on animals

Litter has a major impact on animal's habitats and environments. Many cigarette butts are found in animal's stomachs because they mistake it for food. They catch many diseases from contaminated environments. They're even trapped many times by plastic holders of drinks such as beer. Broken glass or dumped fish nets are many examples of items that can endanger and harm many animals.

Awareness or lack of.

Despite the fact that things aren't as they used to be, there's still a lack of awareness to the littering issue.

People are more green, nowadays. A few years back, streets and environments were filled with garbage and barely anyone cared. However, now we're more aware of its dangers and more concerned about it. Still, there's a lot to be done in today's society.

Taking into account, we're more advanced as ever, why isn't there a viable solution to littering?

Littering is Wrong
Littering is Wrong


More litter bins? Not sure if that would solve it since there are already so many! What needs to be fixed is people's mentality. Having to walk a few meters to find a bin shouldn't be that dreadful.

Litter Nets. More ways to filter pollution to reach our waters should be putting more nets in sewers and waterways. Especially, due to the fact that storms carry litter from one place to the other. If there isn't litter in the water to start with, then it won't spread.

Monitoring. There should be more guarding in spots that are prone to become common dump sites.

Fines. More heavy fines to litters and i'm sure it wouldn't be a common thing! People shouldn't get away with it so easily. Even more, if they're not conscious enough to know the harm they're doing to others.

Hypothetical situation!

Walking away from the severe problems that come with littering. What if we focused on littering the streets alone, shall we?

If everyone, all of the sudden, turned into very conscious people that never litter? Lets imagine a campaign against littering finally worked and all of us never throw anything to the ground and we only recycle or throw everything in the litter bin. Round of applause for that perfect conscious world!

However, if we were like that, what would happen to the thousands of people that make a living off of cleaning the streets? Or scavenge dump sites? Or people that sell recyclable goods?

Is it really acceptable to be 100% green conscious? Like many people that lose their jobs to the automation of their post, now they would lose it due to the improvement of our society. Of course it would be for the better, still would it be totally acceptable to doom so many people to unemployment is today's world? Food for thought.

Hypothetical situation.

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    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      Great article on a very big problem. Some communities suffer more from this problem than others. My favorite saying for folks who won't clean up after themselves is for them to tote their moms or dads or housekeepers etc around with them to do it for them.


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