Why People Must Stop Littering

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 914 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: May 7, 2019

Words: 914|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: May 7, 2019

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Problem of Littering
  3. Works Cited


Have you ever considered the importance of addressing the issue of littering in our society? Chances are, you may not have thought deeply about it. When individuals carelessly discard trash on the ground, they rarely contemplate the potential consequences. Yet, when one piece of litter begets more, it creates a cascade effect. For example, have you ever considered that the wrapper you tossed out of your car window might eventually find its way into the ocean? Surprisingly, few people envision such a scenario until they become aware of the genuine threat it poses, not to mention the unsightly appearance it bestows. This pervasive environmental problem demands immediate attention, as it leads to exorbitant cleanup costs, a proliferation of trash, and impacts on innocent lives. For instance, imagine someone casually flicks a cigarette butt out of their car window. That cigarette butt ends up in the midst of lush green grass, where a beautiful creature grazes and inadvertently consumes it. The consequences? This innocent animal falls gravely ill, all because someone couldn't be bothered to locate a trash receptacle — a concern that deserves thorough exploration in a "do not litter" essay.

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The Problem of Littering

According to The Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, municipal solid waste has surged by 68% since 1980, reaching a staggering annual total of 254 million tons. Alarmingly, a substantial portion of this waste, over 9 billion tons, ends up in the ocean, far exceeding the 254 million that is disposed of responsibly. It is evident that many remain oblivious to the detrimental consequences of littering. As a result of this 9 billion tons of litter polluting our oceans, nearly 100,000 marine mammals meet their demise each year. Moreover, litter poses a significant fire hazard, not to mention the toll it takes on wildlife and the financial burden it places on taxpayers. While those who litter may not perceive these consequences as directly affecting them, it is crucial to consider the harm inflicted on innocent people and animals before thoughtlessly discarding trash. Think about it – that piece of garbage you're about to casually toss on the ground could ultimately prove fatal to an innocent creature. Abstaining from littering is simply a matter of common sense. By littering, you are detrimentally impacting your community, causing harm to your friends and family, and contributing to the degradation of our environment.

To effectively combat the pervasive problem of littering, everyone must assume their rightful role within the community. Although often inadequately enforced, littering is illegal. If individuals were to obey the law, there would be no issue. However, for those who flout the law, stricter penalties are necessary. Law enforcement should increase their vigilance in monitoring littering, and those caught littering should face more severe consequences as a deterrent against future offenses. This approach would also create new job opportunities, as individuals would be hired to patrol and clean up litter regularly, as exemplified by organizations like Pro Ambiente in Costa Rica, where volunteers devote their time to cleaning up after others. As they stated, "Litter can harm the environment in various ways. It serves as a breeding ground for disease-carrying insects and rodents and detracts from the beauty of scenic landscapes."

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Various experts, such as Steven Stein, a litter specialist at a Maryland waste consulting firm, have discovered alarming litter statistics. Along a one-mile stretch of road, they found nearly 2,000 pieces of litter, including paper, plastic, car parts, and construction debris. This litter poses a significant danger, as it has been known to cause accidents. Would you still litter if you knew you might inadvertently cause harm to someone in your vicinity? There are still individuals who fail to acknowledge the harm caused by littering. They overlook the facts and assume that their litter will eventually be cleaned up before affecting anyone. Occasionally, they may be correct, as a conscientious person may come across their litter and pick it up. However, more often than not, their trash remains on the ground. In conclusion, littering must be curbed. While it may take time, it is achievable. Organizations dedicated to cleaning up litter are making a difference, but if law enforcement becomes stricter, actively seeking out litterers, and imposing harsher penalties, I believe that, in the future, littering will become far less prevalent, and our environment will regain its natural beauty.

Works Cited

  1. Brown, L. R. (2008). Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to save civilization. W.W. Norton & Company.
  2. Carson, R. (2002). Silent spring. Houghton Mifflin.
  3. Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances, 3(7), e1700782.
  4. Kaza, S., Yao, L., Bhada-Tata, P., & Van Woerden, F. (2018). What a waste 2.0: A global snapshot of solid waste management to 2050. World Bank.
  5. Laist, D. W. (1997). Impacts of marine debris: Entanglement of marine life in marine debris including a comprehensive list of species with entanglement and ingestion records. In Marine Debris: Sources, Impacts, and Solutions (pp. 99-139). Springer.
  6. Liddle, M., & Rodriguez-Rodriguez, D. (2017). Marine plastic pollution as a planetary boundary threat: The drifting piece in the sustainability puzzle. Marine Policy, 96, 213-220.
  7. Royte, E. (2005). Garbage land: On the secret trail of trash. Little, Brown.
  8. Thompson, R. C., Moore, C. J., vom Saal, F. S., & Swan, S. H. (2009). Plastics, the environment and human health: Current consensus and future trends. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 2153-2166.
  9. United Nations Environment Programme. (2016). Marine plastic debris and microplastics: Global lessons and research to inspire action and guide policy change. United Nations Environment Programme.
  10. United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. United Nations.
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Cite this Essay

Why People Must Stop Littering. (2019, April 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Why People Must Stop Littering.” GradesFixer, 26 Apr. 2019,
Why People Must Stop Littering. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Why People Must Stop Littering [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 26 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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