Littering | Teen Ink


May 1, 2013
By Briankav3 BRONZE, Wilbraham, Massachusetts
Briankav3 BRONZE, Wilbraham, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Brian Kavanagh April 28, 2013

Have you ever thought about what your community would look like without litter? If so, it may take a while to find out. One person throwing something on the ground may not think much of it, however, when that trash finds other trash, they begin to build up and make big piles of junk. For example, I am sure people never thought that if they littered, their trash would end up in the pacific garbage patch. Believe it or not, no one thinks that until you look at the pacific garbage patch and see how disgusting it looks just because people were to lazy to throw their trash away. To make matters worse, littering has become very common, which should be stopped because in most cases, trash is not disposed of properly, leading to innocent people having to spend money on clean up, or big piles of trash on people’s lawns.

If littering is not stopped, more money will be wasted, more things will be damaged, and innocent people’s lives could be effected. Imagine someone tossing a cigarette out of their window. That cigarette gets blown onto someone’s yard and is eaten by their pet. That pet could become seriously sick because of someone else's laziness. According to, over 51 billion pieces of litter land on U.S. roadways each year. That is just roadways. For that cleanup, America spends 11.5 billion dollars each year. 9.1 billion of those dollars are paid by businesses, with the other 2.4 billion being paid between schools, government, and other organizations. Another reason why if all this littering could be disposed of properly, America would have much more money put toward other important things.

It is obvious people who litter don’t understand the harmful effects they cause. For starters, debris can be carried into local waterways effected the water. Also, nearly 7 billions tons of debris end up in the ocean each year. Nearly 100,000 sea mammals are killed by this debris each year. What most people don’t know, is litter can be a serious fire hazard. It kills wild life, and the cleanup money is taken out of taxes. Selfish people who litter in the first place, may not think these effects are harmful because it doesn’t effect them at all, however just think about all the innocent people and animals you are effecting before you litter. Remember, the trash you are about to throw on the ground, could end up in an animals mouth, making them choke to death. Not littering is common sense. If you litter, you are effecting your community, all your friends and families, and making your environment look worse. If you don’t litter, there wouldn’t be billions of dollars spent on litter cleanup, and you wouldn’t have to worry about harming an innocent person or animal.

In order to put an end to all this littering, it needs to start with everyone playing their correct role in society. Although it is not very enforced, littering is illegal. If people would all obey the law, there wouldn’t be an issue. But for those who don’t obey the law, it needs to become stricter. There should be more cops out there on the look out for people littering, and for people who get caught littering, there should be more of a punishment so they know to never do it again. This would also be a great way to open up new jobs by having people look out for, and clean up litter at all times.

Like the members of the organization Pro Ambiente, in Costa Rica who volunteer their time to pick up after others said “Litter can harm the environment in a number of different ways. It is a breeding ground for disease- causing insects and rodents. Its “ugliness” damages the appearance of scenic environments” . Other experts like Steven Stein, a litter analyst for Maryland waste-consulting firm found that on a one-mile stretch of road, they found nearly 2,000 pieces of litter consisting of paper, plastic, car parts, and construction debris. All that litter is life threatening because they are known to cause car accidents. Would you still litter knowing you may be unintentionally killing someone very close to you?

There are still many people out there who don’t think littering is harmful. They don’t look into the facts and think that their litter will eventually be picked up before effecting anyone. In some cases, they may be right. A good person out there may come across their trash and pick it up. But more often then not, they are wrong and their trash remain on the ground.

All in all, littering needs to be stopped. Although it will take a while, it is possible. With the organizations out there trying their best to pick up all the trash out there, if cops become more strict about this law and look out for more litterers, and make the punishment much more strict, I believe in the future, littering will be much more uncommon and the environment will look more beautiful.

The author's comments:
I wrote this essay for my persuasive in class.

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This article has 1 comment.

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on Aug. 14 2015 at 11:51 pm
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
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