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How Does Litter Affect the Environment?

How Does Litter Affect the Environment?

To me, one of the most blatant, unacceptable forms of disrespect is litter. Littering is treating Earth, our home, like a garbage can. As a parent, you can understand how disrespectful it would be for your child to throw trash all over the floor in the home that you provide.

Essentially, “littering” is discarding waste in a place it doesn’t belong. There are designated places to put the trash to ensure it doesn’t get into places it shouldn’t be, like our oceans. In fact, ecomena.org states that about 1.9 BILLION TONS of litter ends up in our oceans every year. 1 ton = 2,000 pounds. This is more than our brains are capable of comprehending. There’s so much plastic waste that Tech Times article reveals to us that geologists from the University of Leicester discovered that plastic has become a part of the Earth’s crust.

Fast forward one thousand years in the future. The generations to come will study our period, and our footprint on the Earth is plastic. How devastating is this?

Looking for a reason to support proper waste management? Read the following detrimental effects of litter on the environment.

  1. Litter creates toxins which can pollute water. Plants, animals, fish, and other living organisms ingest the toxic water. Toxins in the water can lead to blood clots, serious illness, and death in all life that consumes the water. Polluted ponds and rivers can kill off surrounding life.
  1. Polluted water creates toxins in our soil. Gasoline and other waste pollutes water which ends up in our soil. Toxins in the soil negatively impact plant growth, compromising agriculture. When our crops are full of toxins, animals that eat the plants may become sick. As a result, humans that eat these animals are also affected by the polluted soil. Litter directly affects your health.
  1. With billions of tons of plastic waste, animals begin to ingest the plastic, resulting in death. Numerous whales have washed up on shore with stomachs full of plastic. Plastic rings that hold soda cans choke turtles to death. Fish swim into clear plastic, getting stuck, and starving to death. Did you know that a plastic garbage bag takes about 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill? (according to balancesmb.com.)

 

Litter results in illness and death. What kind of steps can you take to reduces your waste? Do you have a local recycling organization you can use? All it takes is a little extra effort and compassion for life. Becoming aware of the effects of waste on our environment is the first step. Every step you take, no matter how small, makes a difference.

By: KayLynn P.

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