The Effects of Littering Why You Should Be Concerned About Trash

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Each year the people of the United States generate approximately 11 billion tons of solid waste, and unfortunately, not all of it winds up in the landfill. Some of it ends up in our water and even on land. As a result, our landscapes suffer from the effects of littering.

The pollution of our lands and waters is killing us — literally. Pollution affects hundreds of millions of people, and that doesn’t even account for the damage that it does to entire ecosystems. If you’re wondering how the effects of littering affect us all, take a look at the problems caused by litter below:

Littering Harms the Environment.
When we throw trash onto the ground or into a storm drain, it doesn’t just magically go away. Plastic can stick around for hundreds or even thousands of years if it’s not properly disposed of. In fact, the plastic from water bottles ends up in our oceans and is the cause for the most concentrated areas of pollution in the world, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Our Trash Can Hurt Animals.
Littering affects the animals that have to share our environment, too. Everyone is familiar with the image of animals stuck in plastic soda can rings, for instance, but even other litter can harm creatures great and small. Animals may eat garbage items that have toxic substances on them, such as household cleaning supplies. This can poison not only wild animals but even somebody else’s pet!

Even Humans Are Affected by Littering.
Litter doesn’t only hurt animals — it hurts us, too. Trash can carry disease and germs, so if it’s all over a sidewalk or in the ocean, it can harm us. Trash that winds up in our water supply also gets into our drinking water, so there’s also the possibility that your water contains these germs.

Litter Makes Our World Look Bad.
Think about the last time you were out walking and you came across litter on a beach or in a park. Chances are that rubbish really marred the otherwise beautiful view. Taking care of the Earth means making it a pleasant place for everyone, and keeping the planet clean is the best way to accomplish this goal.

So how can you curb the effects of littering in your daily life? Make sure to practice good conservation by utilizing home recycling bins. If you know of an area in your town or city that could use a clean-up, organize a group of volunteers to get to the task. Encourage your workplace to go green and use recyclable materials.

Want more advice about litter prevention? Leave a comment below! Learn more: askhrgreen.org

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