Two people placing trash in trash bag

The Dire Consequences of Littering and Mishandling Trash

We’ve been warned long ago: Throwing trash in improper places aggravates water and air pollution. It also spreads diseases and harms the lives of animals, humans, and plants. Sadly, pollution brought by trash is still a problem.

We contribute to this pollution plague in the smallest ways. For example, littering because public trash cans are either scarce or overflowing. In this scenario, we should keep our trash until we find proper disposal for them, or call trash can cleaning professionals in Sandy, Utah, or any other area to have public trash bins sanitized and used again.

Mishandled trash impacts the environment and our lives, as we’ve seen from flash floods, the spread of airborne and waterborne diseases, plastic pollution, and many other waste-related issues that the world faces. But it’s not yet too late to find a solution to this problem.

Consequences of Littering

Some people still stubbornly litter despite many ordinances and regulations against littering. Several reasons for this practice are found, including the presence of litter in a certain area. When people see a place filled with trash, they tend to think that adding their own trash into the mess is acceptable behavior.

Another reason for littering is the notion that it has no consequences. Some people think it’s okay to litter if a street cleaner or janitor will clean up after them. This behavior could stem from the lack of education about waste, which is another reason for throwing trash improperly.

Littering leads to environmental pollution, as the trash thrown to the ground can spread to bodies of water, harming aquatic animals. If toxic substances are present, it may contaminate the air, harming the lives of people and wildlife in the affected area.

The spread of disease-causing viruses is also supported by littering. When pests that came trash contaminate water, the bacteria will be passed on to animals and humans.

And needless to say, littering depreciates the aesthetic value of a place. People frown upon dirty places, and if a particular area filled with litter happens to be a tourist attraction, it will affect that place’s reputation and profits.

Impact of Mismanaged Waste

Trash, especially plastic waste, hurts the environment, ecosystem, and human life in multiple ways. Habitat conditions are altered from trash and debris accumulation, killing certain species, like coral reefs in the ocean, for example.

Mismanaged waste also has chemical impacts. Plastic can produce persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic contaminants which can affect marine wildlife, including the seafood we eat. Moreover, seabirds and aquatic animals can also ingest plastic or plastic particles when they search for food in the ocean.

It was found that plastic pollution affects 86% of sea turtles, 44% of seabirds, and 43% of marine mammals, all of which are included in the estimated 267 species worldwide suffering the consequences of plastic pollution. Entanglement and ingestion are the most common threats to wildlife brought by plastic waste.

These marine animals ingest plastic because they mistake it for food. In a sea turtle’s perception, for example, jellyfish looks identical to plastic, hence they consume plastic when they see it in the ocean. Fish can also ingest plastic, which can harm the fur seals that consume them in turn.

Plastic cannot be digested by these animals, so as a result, they may develop internal and external wounds, blockage to their digestive systems, mobility problems, and poisoning, leading to their death.

For humans, ocean pollution can pose a hazard to fishing and tourism. Old nets floating on the surface of the sea can get entangled in propellers, damaging boats and possibly harming its passengers. Property damages and loss of human life are costly consequences of polluting the ocean.


Trash bags on curbside

The three Rs namely, reduce, reuse, and recycle, are the solutions formed to reduce the planet’s waste buildup. “Reduce” means consuming fewer items that will result in waste; “reuse” means re-purposing discarded items such as old household products. Lastly, “recycle” is the act of converting waste into another material to be used to make new items.

Let’s all make it a habit to discard our trash properly, and to practice the three Rs. Let’s all be responsible citizens and take care of our home, the earth.

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