Litter: Waste and Littering Problem

Topics: Waste, Litter, Plastic shopping bag Pages: 3 (707 words) Published: April 20, 2008
Defining “litter”
Litter is “carelessly discarded refuse ,” most commonly found on the ground. It can be hazardous, like shards of broken glass, or non-hazardous, like a piece of hair. Because some trash items seem harmless, there is controversy about what should technically be called “litter.” The American Public Works Association defines litter as “…material which, if thrown or deposited, tends to create a danger to public health, safety and welfare.” Regardless of the item(s) littered, littering always has a negative effect on our environment.

Common types of litter
The amount of trash littered each year is getting closer every year to the amount of trash that was actually properly disposed of and billions of dollars have been spent cleaning it up and remedying the environmental problems caused by litter. The most common type of litter is cigarette butts, carelessly flicked onto the ground by smokers. What the people guilty of these crimes do not realize is that these butts take about five years break down, thus the result of just one thoughtless action can be apparent for years to come. The largest volume of a single category of littered item is beverage containers. This can be attributed to the fact that our world is steadily becoming all about convenience at all costs. Other top trash articles found in undesirable places are wrappers, aluminum cans, gum/gum wrappers, caps, lids, plastic bags, and advertisements and other paper items.

Who is responsible for the problem?
The people most often blamed for littering are teenagers, poorly educated people, and minorities. In reality, studies show that the people who contribute the most to the littering problem are drivers, fast food and grocery customers, and pedestrians that have been walking a far distance. Motorists casually toss garbage out of their car windows. Fast food containers and grocery bags, because there is such a large quantity of them, are commonly littered items. About...
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