But it’s not all doom and gloom. This is one aspect of community life where a small effort can have a huge impact. Simply picking up any litter you see in your community can have huge benefits.
People who make the small effort to pick up litter often find that they inspire their neighbours to do the same, and there is a snowball effect of everyone doing their bit to keep your neighbourhood clean.
This instils a sense of pride and as an added benefit, you're also more likely to get to know your neighbours because you'll be out on the street a bit more.
You could include the whole family and show your kids how little effort it takes to keep a community clean and safe; it will also discourage them from littering in the future. Go prepared with bags and gloves and never touch any hazardous materials.
Or, if you are out and about and see litter lying around, simply pick it up and put it in the nearest bin.
Here are 6 reasons why picking up litter is a good thing to do
- Cost - more than $16 million is spent in WA each year cleaning up litter.
- Threat to public health – it attracts vermin and is a breeding ground for bacteria. Items such as broken glass, needles and syringes are a health hazard in public places.
- Fire hazard - accumulated litter and carelessly discarded cigarette butts are potential fire hazards.
- Harmful to wildlife - plastic litter can choke or suffocate animals. Carelessly discarded containers can trap small mammals. Litter in streets and parks can travel through the stormwater system to our bays and oceans, where it can cause harm to wildlife.
- Looks bad - litter negatively affects the image of places, especially tourist locations.
- Litter attracts litter - litter sends out a message that people do not care for the environment and that it is acceptable to litter.
Source: Keep Australia Beautiful Council of Western Australia: kabc.wa.gov.au