Littering - Why is it a problem? - by Amelia
Littering in Thames Ditton is a problem - a big one. But why is this? Surely in the 21st Century we are all aware of the importance of recycling.
I asked 30 students what they think about litter and they all said that they don’t like litter. 23 said that they would litter; 7 said that they would not litter. 26 said that they would pick up litter; 4 said that they would not clean up litter. Over all it is good.
Litter can harm the environment. It is unsightly and uncollected litter can attract more. Animals may get trapped or poisoned with litter in their habitats. Litter can end up in rivers and canals, polluting the water supply. Litter is a breeding ground for disease causing insects and rodents, features. Trash collects into streams, and storm water drainage systems, flowing into local bays and estuaries.
With litter responsible for the injury and death of thousands of animals each year, the RSPCA is supporting a new campaign against litter and urging people to think before they chuck away unwanted wrappers, cans and other rubbish and bin it instead.
The RSPCA receives more than 7,000 phone calls about wildlife, farm animals and pets which have been hurt, trapped or killed by carelessly dumped rubbish. With many pet and farm owners going direct to vets, and as many injured wild animals will never be found.
A cow with its head stuck in a washing machine, a fox cub trapped in a hub-cap and a seal entangled in a net are just some of the preventable incidents that the RSPCA has had to deal with.
Some have long-term or terminal effect - one dog was left with life-long injuries after he cut an artery on metal that had been dumped and a badger cub that had a plastic can holder embedded in its neck was lacerated so deeply that it died.
Think before you throw it...
Even seemingly innocuous rubbish can cause problems for animals, and the RSPCA is giving advice about how to reduce the risk:
Everyday objects pose a real hazard and serious threat when dumped. Elastic bands can get caught around necks of animals and beaks of birds and can be swallowed; fishing hooks and broken glass can pierce and tear skin; and plastic bags can suffocate animals that crawl into them and cause those who eat them to choke and die.
A simple elastic band can be a death trap
‘Animals are dying or being really badly hurt, just because people prefer to hurl things out of their car window or drop them on the ground rather than just wait until they get to a bin.
‘A simple tin can or elastic band can be a real death trap when left in the street or in the countryside, where many people walk their dogs and wildlife lives. Yet so much trash is left lying around due to pure thoughtlessness.
‘The message here really is stark but simple - litter is lethal. All it takes is for people to throw rubbish away properly for such needless destruction to stop.'
A badger cub was discovered trapped inside a plastic can holder in May and was taken to RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Somerset.
The plastic had got caught around its neck and opposite armpit and it is thought that he probably got stuck inside when he was very young, with the plastic getting tighter and cutting deeper as he got older and bigger.
A grey seal pup was found on a beach with life threatening injuries caused by fishing line wrapped around his neck in April. It cut a deep circular wound which went so far down into the muscle that it could have been lethal if left.
'Some are so bad that the wire has almost chopped their heads off. Fishing tackle can be a lethal hazard for wildlife - and we urge anyone handling it to be very careful to dispose of it correctly.'