Sunday, October 3, 2010

Littering - Definition and impact

In order to define the littering we need to define the litter first. The litter refers to different waste products such as containers, papers, and wrappers that have been disposed onto streets, countrysides and remote places, meaning that the simplest littering definition would be pollution of our environment by different litter waste.

Littering is much more serious problem than some think it is, not just environmental but also an economic problem too because countries spend huge sums of money to clean and remove litter out of our environment.

Not all litter gets taken care of in time, and wind often moves litter into rivers, streams and oceans, in fact some latest studies have concluded that up to 20% of litter ends up in different water bodies. For instance, about 80% of marine debris comes from land-based sources

Litter is also not a local problem as some think it is, because littering is happening worldwide. In US 75% of Americans admit to littering within the last 5 years, most of them being young people between age 20-35. Among people that litter the most are smokers, and cigarette butts are believed to be most commonly littered items.

Why do people litter? Is it because they are lazy and ignorant or is it because they do not care for our environment? Probably due to both of these reasons, and until people develop global ecological conscience littering will continue to harm our environment.

Littering is doing significant damage to our environment, not only from visual point of view, but it also harms plants and animals, and can also harm people because litter often contains germs that can lead to several diseases.

As said before global ecological conscience is the key to stop littering and this can be only achieved with adequate education. People need to learn how important our environment is, and not take everything for granted like everything is there just because of us.

Cleaning up litter in the U.S. currently costs about $11 billion per year.

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