LESS LITTER LIVE BETTER
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Litter consists of waste products that have been disposed improperly, without consent, at an inappropriate location. Litter can also be used as a verb. To litter means to drop and leave objects, often man-made, such as aluminum cans, cardboard boxes or plastic bottles on the ground and leave them there indefinitely or for others to dispose of as opposed to disposing of them properly.Large and hazardous items of rubbish such as tires, electrical appliances, electronics, batteries and large industrial containers are sometimes dumped in isolated locations, such as national forests and other public land.It is a human impact on the environment and remains a serious environmental issue in many countries. Litter can exist in the environment for long periods of time before degrading and be transported large distances into the world's oceans. Litter can affect the quality of life.Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world, with 4.5 trillion discarded annually. Estimates on the required time for cigarette butts to break down vary. They range from five years to 400 years for complete degradation
CAUSES OF LITTERING
In addition to intentional littering, almost half of litter on U.S. roadways is now accidental or unintentional litter, usually debris that falls off improperly secured trash, recycling collection vehicles and pickup trucks. Population levels, traffic density and proximity to waste disposal sites are factors known to correlate with higher litter rates.According to a study by the Dutch organization VROM, 80% of people claim that "everybody leaves a piece of paper, tin or something, on the street behind". Young people from 12 to 24 years cause more litter than the average (Dutch or Belgian) person; only 18% of people who regularly cause litter were 50 years of age or older. However, a 2010 survey of littering in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in the United States, placed litterers aged 55 and over at less than 5%. The same observational study estimated that 78% of litterers are male. In 1999, research by Keep America Beautiful found that 75% of Americans admitted to littering the last five years, yet 99% of the same individuals admitted that they enjoyed a clean environment.
Effects on humans
Hazardous materials encapsulated within tires and other items of illegally dumped rubbish can leach into water sources, contaminate the soil and pollute the air.Tires are the most often dumped hazardous waste. In 2007 the United States generated 262 million scrap tires.Thirty-eight states have laws that ban whole tires being deposited in landfills. Many of these discarded tires end up illegally dumped on public lands. Tires can become a breeding ground for insect vectors which can transmit disease to humans. Mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water, can transmit West Nile virus and malaria. Rodents nest in accumulated tires and can transmit diseases such as Hantavirus.Litter can be hazardous to health. Debris falling from vehicles is an increasing cause of automobile accidents. Discarded dangerous goods, chemicals, tires, sharps waste and pathogens resulting from litter can cause accidental harm to humans.
Effects on wildlife
Animals may get trapped or poisoned with litter in their habitats. Cigarette butts and filters are a threat to wildlife and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds and whales, who have mistaken them for food. Also animals can get trapped in the rubbish and be in serious discomfort. For example, the plastic used to hold beverage cans together can get wrapped around animals' necks and cause them to suffocate as they grow. Other instances where animals could be harmed by litter include broken glass lacerating the paws of dogs, cats, and other small mammals.
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