Monday, May 3, 2010

Litter and How it Affects the Environment - what can we do?

Thank goodness school are waking up to the importance of studying socially useful topics like sustainability and Caring for our Environment. My local school is discussing Litter and possible solutions....

Did you know:

* Cigarette butts, are made of a form of plastic that can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! 4.5 trillion Non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.
• Polystyrene litter such as disposable coffee cups or packing materials can be eaten by animals who mistake it for food,. Polystyrene can poison and/or clog stomachs leading to death by either toxicity or starvation. Once released into the environment, polystyrene will NEVER decompose to a non-recognizable form.
Entanglement occurs when animal becomes wrapped in or ensnared up by something. In many cases litter can entangle an animal swimming by. It can suffocate or drown. Six packs rings causing 6 million sea bird deaths a year and over 100,000 marine mammal deaths. The plastic used to create the rings takes 450 years to decompose!
• Plastic shopping bags take between 10-20 years to decompose. Turtles mistake plastic bags as jellyfish and eat them causing suffocation, drowning and gut obstruction.

• Set an example by not littering.
• Using cloth napkins rather than paper,
• Composting food scraps,
• Carrying reusable bottles instead of buying water in plastic, etc.
• Talk to your family and friends about recycling to reduce the amount of material you throw away, this will also result in a reduction of litter generally.

• Dispose of rubbish properly. Recycle any materials that can be recycled and dispose of the rest in a garbage can.

• Do not have bins in forest areas where birds or animals may spread litter around. When you visit a park or beach, remember to take out what you bring in. Keep trash and recyclables in a bag or backpack until you can put them in a litter basket.
• Do not dump anything down the storm drain.

• Keep a litterbag in your car.

• Avoid excess packaging when you shop. This will decrease litter from the start.

• Purchase reusable canvas natural fibre bags for your groceries and errands. Keep these items in your car so that they are handy whenever you might need them.

• Do not accept plastic bags with items you purchase if you can carry your purchase with out them.

• Keep your yard clean and free of things that can blow into the street and become litter.

• At home, make sure garbage and recycling bags are tied securely so that loose papers and other items cannot fall out and become litter.

• Make sure you close the lid on your refuse containers after depositing your trash or recycling inside. This will prevent refuse from spilling into the street.

• Do not overfill refuse containers; exposed garbage will likely result in litter.

• Remove flyers or take-out menus promptly from your front door or windscreen before they are blown away and become litter.

• Participate in and promote recycling programs such as kerbside cleanup.

• Stop litter at the source. Reduce your junk mail by writing to Direct Marketing companies to request no junk mail to be sent to your address.

• Have a "no smoking" policy or allow smoking only in designated areas. More and more public beaches, parks, open-air shopping malls, and college campus are trying to concentrate cigarette butt litter by requiring smokers to use only designated areas.

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