8 Alarming Facts About Littering to Teach to Your Kids
Litter is an eyesore. And litter is harmful to our planet. It pollutes our oceans, kills our wildlife, and is extremely damaging to human health. These are all things we already know. Yet, almost 48% of people admit to dropping litter. That’s almost half of the population not caring enough to wait until they get to a bin.
There’s no doubt that adults need to change their ways, but it’s also important to educate children as early as possible about the nasty effects of throwing litter. Here are 8 seriously alarming facts you can tell the kids to get them to be more mindful with their rubbish.
1. Littering kills whales and turtles...
...and all of their favourite animals. With most of our world’s litter ending up in the oceans, it’s no wonder that wildlife is suffering. Turtles can get plastic straws stuck in their noses, and fish and other sea life can ingest a lot of the smaller pieces of plastic floating around in their natural habitat.
2. Beach litter is rising
Each year, there seems to be more and more litter polluting our beaches. Those days of building sandcastles with clean, soft and rubbish-free sand will soon be over if we don’t act now and change our ways.
3. Cigarette ends take 10 years to decompose
Cigarette butts account for half of the total number of littered objects in Britain, with many people not even realising that they are committing the act when they flick the cigarette onto the floor. They take a decade to decompose, meaning that any cigarettes not properly disposed of will plague our streets for years to come. This is a great way to put them off becoming a smoker when they are older.
4. It costs us all money to fix
Litter cleanup cost local authorities £682 million in 2016-17 according to Gov.uk. That works out at £29 per household to keep our streets clean, the price of a fancy Lego set or a cheap meal out for the whole family. On top of that, £6 million a year is spent by Highways England collecting litter from the roads.
5. Our parks are affected by littering
Not just by litter on the grounds, but the cost of cleaning means cutbacks to park management. A study found that 86% of park managers have had their budgets cut since 2010. As a result, parks have less staff and play areas that aren’t regularly maintained because the money just isn’t there.
6. There’s over 128 million pieces of debris in space
Kids love space, so they’re probably not going to be too impressed to find out that generations of scientists before them have littered it with debris. There’s currently a lot of space junk orbiting the earth, and it’s taken a major initiative called RemoveDebris to begin the cleanup.
7. Littering doesn’t make us very nice people
According to Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of UK charity Keep Britain Tidy, littering doesn’t make us very good neighbours. She says, “Littering reduces people’s sense of well-being and attracts crime.”
8. We are ingesting plastic every day
Due to littering and plastic ending up in our oceans, humans are eating and drinking tiny pieces of plastic every day. It’s in our food and our water. A recent study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology estimates that we could be consuming anywhere from 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles a year.