A small piece of litter you have in your hand today could amount to billions of litters at the end of the year. Billions of money is spent just to clean up the litter that many people have thoughtlessly tossed out on the streets and other public spaces. But if each of us try a bit more of discipline and application of basic knowledge about the effects of litter, imagine how much money could be saved and used for other more important services. Here are some of the most important and interesting facts that might just help each of us think twice about littering.
1. 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year.
This is more than the amount of trash generated every year which is only 250 million. Suffice to say that people tend to throw things randomly anywhere more often that they throw garbage in trash bins. This adds up to among the reasons why marine life is depleting. If we wonder why there are a lot of fish kills reported almost every day, we might want to think about how we are contributing to it. Many of the endangered animals in the oceans are losing their homes as much as their food resource and that is thanks to the contribution of the billions of litter we produce.
2. $11.5 billion is spent every year to clean up litter.
Half surprising and half expected, this much money could have been used in more pressing and important services like housing and health care. Most people do not really think about how much of their little actions can affect the entire nation’s well-being. Complaining about where the taxes go is one thing but contributing to the expense of government like a litter clean-up operation could have made more savings of this tax money and put into better use.
3. 50% of littered items are cigarette butts.
It is very common for a smoker to think about cutting back this vice but it’s very uncommon for them to think about proper cigarette butt disposal. Tossing it out of the car window is the easiest and simplest way to dispose so why bother to look for ash receptacles or trash bins? Most people think that a tiny piece of cigarette butt can easily be disposed of and wither in no time on the streets. But this is a misconception. Cigarette butts are actually made of cellulose acetate which could take more than 10 years to disintegrate. This is why cigarette butts are a serious threat to the environment.
4. In a poll conducted in the State of Tennessee, 50% of smokers claimed they properly disposed of their cigarette butts in ash receptacles or trash cans.
This could also mean that the government and private organizations’ campaign against cigarette butts littering still have a long way to go in its advocacy. The nationwide campaign for this particular litter has already rolled out with many activities concentrating on educating people about proper disposal of litter and making sure that facilities are available to dispose cigarette butts.
5. 75% of people admitted that they littered in the past 5 years.
Not surprising is the fact that people have done this for many years despite many clean-up activities and educational campaigns about proper disposal of litter.
6. The most common object found during litter clean-up is fast food litter.
Many people who order food to-go would likely throw their litter just about anywhere convenient like the roadside or highways. This is really not uncommon. It is much easier to just toss out fast food wrappers on sidewalks or the open streets rather than go out of the way just to look for a trash bin.
7. Men are likely to litter more than women do, according to a survey conducted in Tennessee.
In fact, 8% of men claimed that they would litter daily while only 2% of women would do the same. This might be one of the reasons why there are more men who tend to be messier at home or in the workplace compared to women.
8. According to a national study, most people who would deliberately litter are those between 18-34 years old.
A study in Tennessee also revealed that the older people get, the more likely they throw litter properly in a trash bin. This study reflects that most people learn the value of the doing things properly as they age like in this case, the proper disposal of litter. Younger people tend to just neglect the effects of their action and really want to have it their way.
9. The West Virginia Department of Transportation listed eight sources of litters which include motorists, pedestrians, uncovered trucks, and boaters.
When people are on the move like when driving or are inside their cars, or walking by, they usually just tend to toss things out of the car window or into the sidewalks because it is more convenient than finding and stopping at a trash bin to throw their litter into.