Littering is never justifiable. No matter how small your piece of trash is, it eventually adds up. While I’ve always known littering to be a problem, I’ve never fully grasped the severity of the issue until I started walking my dog through local neighborhoods. Crumbled papers, cigarette butts and tin cans all line the edges of streets. Occasionally, I’ll be fortunate enough to stumble upon a soiled diaper that my dog thinks is a tasty snack.
I believe the issue stems from people’s lack of knowledge. I’ve heard people say, “It’s no big deal. It’s just something for the jailbirds to pick up later.” This is an absurd idea. Several local communities don’t have prisoners pick up trash. Even if they do, the litter tends to sit there for long periods of time before clean-up efforts are even considered.
Litterbugs also tend to think their measly small piece of garbage couldn’t possibly have much impact on the roadside. They say things such as, “What is this one food wrapper going to hurt?” Imagine multiple people having this mentality. The trash soon piles up in the ditches along the highway.
Aside from being an eyesore, litter has its negative effects on the environment. Toxic chemicals and materials can seep into the soil or even end up washed into waterways. Cigarette butts are one of the most plentiful forms of litter I see. These butts contain harmful substances that can contaminate and pollute the soil and water it is thrown in.
Not only is the practice unlawful, but it ruins the appearance of neighborhoods. As mentioned before, I take my dog on walks through a nice neighborhood behind our apartment complex. For the most part, it is a pleasant sight. It isn’t until we near the interstate that it gets bad. All along the fence, you can see plastic bags, cans, papers and my dog’s personal favorite – other pet’s feces. This is an entirely different form of litter that is equally as harmful. I’ve come to learn that dogs often contract worms and other infectious diseases by sniffing another dog’s feces. Bacteria can be transferred to someone’s pooch all because the owner couldn’t be bothered to pick up their dog’s business.