First, let me start off by saying, we have all seen litter. If you live in the city you see it every day. But, did you know that because of this litter, the litter that is just a part of every day life, there is an island of trash two times the size of Texas floating in the Pacific ocean? Just think about that. You know how big your city is? Now think of your state. Now Texas. Now think of two of Texas side by side. Now imagine that is made of trash. That is a lot of trash, and the sea life is dying because of it. I had heard of this “trash island” before but I found an article on the New York Times website that I found really interesting and informative. You can check that out here.
The biggest source of litter is cigarette butts. Though small they can be very dangerous. The butts contain harmful chemicals, including arsenic, that can contaminate water and soil. The problem is that there are so many of them lying on the ground. For example: I was waiting for the bus the other day and saw just a few cigarette butts, but as I looked more, I counted at least 20 of them within 5 feet of me. So now cigarettes can harm us even if we don’t smoke.
In doing my research I also found this very interesting website that had tons of information, some of which included a pie chart on the most common litter. I did not realize until later, when I came across the same organization’s clean up project for a different year, that this information was for Australia. It made me realize that littering is not just a problem in America, but around the world, and that other countries have similar organizations that have the same mission. You can check out that website here, and the pdf for their annual “Rubbish Report” here.
My bibliography is on a public google document. You can check it out here.