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The Littering Jitters
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The Littering Jitters

How to help save the Earth one step at a time!

By: Big Facts about Little Things

Have you ever seen trash on the road or sidewalk? Maybe it was a plastic bag blown away in the wind. Or maybe it was a piece of paper or cardboard! If you have, did you ever stop to think about it? Most people don't. But now the truth is revealed.

Littering is very harmful to the Earth. It takes years for trash to break down! Water can carry trash from one place to another. Wind picks up light trash and sweeps it around. There are lots of ways that trash can get somewhere! Even if it looks like there's no trash somewhere, there might be! People might not think chemicals are considered littering, but it hurts the environment just the same. Road runoff is a great example. The chemicals from tires get washed off on the road. When it rains, the chemicals can run into lakes and streams and pollute them! Many fish and animals could die.

Road runoff is something that happens all the time. It is bad for the environment, but there are not many ways to avoid it. Here are a few:

1. Keeping your car clean with no oil leaks

2. Try not to use fertilizers

3. Clean up dog poop (See: Scoop on Dog Poop by Big Facts about Little Things)

And that's just talking about chemicals. Litter is not just harmful on land, but also in the water. Litter that gets blown away by the wind can end up in rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans. Just look at this picture. See how many different types of littering you can spot!

How many did you find? I saw bottle caps, plastic baggies, ropes, broken plastic, and shards of glass. All of this litter got washed up on the beach. Nobody wants to be walking in litter when they go to the beach!

Litter can also get into streams. Storm drains can carry any litter down to a river.

Litter (like plastics, bottle caps, and bags) takes years to break down. Trash gets sent to a landfill, where everything basically sits there until the trash gets old enough that it breaks down. But plastics and bags take years to break down. They are hard materials. That's why we have recycling! Grab a bin with the recycling symbol on it and drop it in there!

You can't always recycle litter. Some litter is trash that has to be sent to a landfill. But trash in a landfill is still better than trash on the ground! If the litter is recycling, grab a pair of gloves and pick it up. Many people have started groups to pick up litter and clean out our oceans.

Everyone can pitch in to help pick up litter. On Earth Day, (April 22) you can join a group to pick up trash. (See Earth day 2023 by Big Facts about Little Things) Here are some ways you can help the Earth with littering.

1. Cover trash and recycling bins with lids.

2. Adopt a highway. (Adopt A Highway)

3. Share with the authorities when someone litters in illegal places.

4. Use reusable bags.

5. Reduce the amount of trash you throw away.

6. Reuse trash for other purposes.

7. Recycle!!

I hope you learned something about littering! Visit my website at

(Bibliography below)


Road runoff: