Littering is a very frequent form of environmental pollution and a clear sign that our society still has to learn a lot when it comes to a global environmental conscience. The most obvious form of pollution connected with littering is of course visual pollution because litter presents one of the worst sights that can be seen in nature.
Litter can disrupt the balance of many ecosystems because it can provide perfect breeding ground for many insects and rodents that not only harm our environment but can also carry different diseases.
Many animal species can get hurt while stepping on certain litter items and litter can also lead animals getting trapped and poisoned. Cigarette butts for instance, which are the most littered items in our planet, have been found in the stomachs of many fish, birds and whales, who have mistaken them for a food.
Littering can also sometimes lead to wildfires because it is possible for spark to hit a piece of litter like a paper bag and start a fire. Cigarettes could also start fire if not being properly put out prior to being littered.
Organic litter is particularly hazardous form of litter as it can even lead to a major water pollution and lead to a shortage of drinking water, for instance if there is garbage in a river then the water is no longer safe to drink. Organic litter has been also found to cause algal bloom in certain water bodies.
Many litter items are not biodegradable which means that their chemical decomposition takes a very long time and these items can therefore create long-term damage to environment (as this is the case with cigarette butts).
Decomposition of certain litter could also lead to even more greenhouse gas emissions and further contribute to climate change and global warming.
One of the worst examples of littering is no doubt The Great Pacific Garbage Patch where litter already has twice the size of France and continues to grow exponentially, representing major shame to our entire civilization.