Dangers of Littering Essay
1397 Words6 Pages
It may seem harmless and innocent, but littering is an unhealthy habit people of all ages in each country do every day. Littering is a second nature to some people; after doing it for so long and often, they do not realize they do it. As more and more people continue to litter, environments, animals, and humans are being harmed by people’s carless actions. Americans, as well as all humans, need to be more aware of how hazardous and costly littering is to the world and the creatures living in it. Littering shows lack of respect for the world, and needs to be prevented in order for future generations to live in a clean and healthy environment. Littering is the act of disposing of trash and unwanted materials improperly. The effects of…show more content…
Orange and banana peels have the potential to last up to five to six weeks when disposed of on land (“Litter Facts”, 15). Other objects which are considered as litter are glass bottles, plastic bottles and bags, paper, tobacco products, and food wrappers (“Litter Prevention”, 14 & 17). Anything on the ground or in the water which is not naturally there is considered as litter. People litter in a number of areas across the Earth on land and water. The most popular areas for people to litter are roadways, transition points (entrances to businesses/buildings), loading docks, recreational areas, and construction sites (“Litter Prevention”, 13). Roadways are the most popular locations for litter, with 52% of motorists and 22.8% of pedestrians disposing of their trash along roads as they drive, walk, or bike (“Litter Prevention”, 15). United States roads and highways are littered with over 51 billion pieces of garbage each year, which equals about 6,729 items of trash per mile (“Litter Prevention”, 3). Transition points are the second most popular location for litter to build up. Wrappers and food make up 53.7% of the litter in these areas, and tobacco products make up 29.8% (“Litter Prevention”, 17). Before people enter businesses they choose to throw their trash on the ground instead of in the provided waste can, or the waste can is too full to hold trash, resulting in overflowing waste cans. Loading docks, recreational areas,
Don't Litter & Pick Litter Up
In 2006, every person in the United States generated 4.6 pounds of waste per day.
By Haley A. Wilhite
Most people today are aware of the more typical ways to become an "Everyday Environmentalist" — use compact fluorescent bulbs, get energy efficient appliances, try to commute on foot or by bicycle.
But that awareness doesn’t seem to be translating into green actions. Based on the latest Harris Poll, only 3 percent of all Americans have switched to energy-efficient light bulbs; and only 4 percent have taken steps to reduce their utility useage.
So maybe it's time to do something even smaller, something with a rich tradition — like not littering and picking up litter where you find it.
Litter is Still a Problem
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2006 every person in the United States generated 4.6 pounds of waste per day.
But only 32.5 percent of that was recovered and recycled or composted, while 12.5 percent was burned at combustion facilities, and the remaining 55 percent ended up in landfills…or not.
For instance, the Independent (a U.K. newspaper) reported in February 2008 that a "plastic soup" of waste twice the size of the continental United States is floating in the Pacific Ocean — and growing at an alarming rate. Four-fifths of this 100 million tons of trash has come from land.
The United Nations Environment Programme reports that plastic debris causes the deaths of more than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.
In fact, Keep America Beautiful, a volunteer-based action and education organization, found that 18 percent of all littered items end up in streams and waterways as pollution. And a fire starts somewhere in the world every 12 minutes because of litter.
Pick Up Litter — On Your Own or in a Group
Keep America Beautiful has a list of things you can do to prevent litter — from adopting a spot in your town to keep litter-free on a regular basis to giving out litter bags at events.
Or you can do what I do: Anytime I see trash, I simply pick it up. Then I find the nearest actual trash receptacle (or preferably a recycling can) and dispose of it.
It’s something I’ve been doing ever since I was a kid growing up in a small Tennessee town. To occupy my time, I would pick up the litter on my street to keep it looking beautiful.
As I grew up, I realized that telling my friends to keep a small trash bag in their vehicle kept them from throwing litter out the window (at least while I was riding with them). And today, I just utilize whatever I have — a tissue, a bag, an empty cup in the car — to pick up litter and dispose of it correctly.
Take Litter Personally
As a long-time environmental steward of the Earth, my personal mission has been to clean-up litter wherever I can. I also share this mission with others, especially my own friends and family.
For many years I have served as an advocate against littering. Any person who has spent time with me knows if I’m around, you’re not going to throw that gum wrapper on the ground and get away with it!
So whether I’m just walking in and out of a business or riding down the road, I always try to do my part to keep our environment tidy.
Sure, it's very small — but it's a start. And the price to nature of not doing it is all too clear.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not represent those of The Nature Conservancy.