Unaware animals, including those way out in the ocean, get a ring of death wrapped around their throat from human actions. Even simple actions like throwing a can of soda into a bush beside the road or in a neighbor’s yard can eventually affect wildlife in the sea. As a whole, littering is basically depositing an item where it does not belong. Although there isn’t a person who hasn’t littered, it needs to stop before it gets out of hand.
Surprisingly, some people think littering is okay. This is not the case; there are far too many consequences. They argue that since everyone does it, why shouldn’t they? Or what difference could one person make? Another claim is that biodegradable items, such as bananas and paper towels, are okay to litter. Because their materials are found naturally throughout the world, people feel they act as effective fertilizers. Finally, the most common excuse is that it is much more convenient to just toss trash out the window of a car than to track a garbage can down. However, these stances are biased and most people who agree with these points don’t know the penalties of littering.
Many people do not realize littering is a crime that is illegal in all fifty states. However, according to a survey, 85.7% of teenagers feel it is morally wrong, yet 92.8% of them still litter. Only 35.7% of them actually know the consequences of it. A first offence results in about a $750 fine, and often times community service hours or even jail time. Each subsequent offence results in heavier penalties. Also, many people do not realize what constitutes as littering. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, litter is plainly “things that have been thrown away and that are lying on the ground in a public place,” which means anything, including an item as small as a cigarette butt or biodegradable like a banana peel. Despite the fact that cigarette butts are small, they can be quite dangerous if not properly disposed. Studies have shown it takes between one to five years for one to degrade. Plastics take even longer to decompose, usually between ten to 450 years. A simple action like throwing an empty water bottle out the window penalizes the world for hundreds of years.
Littering impacts the economy. According to the University of Southern California, 100,000 marine animals are entangled, suffocated, or cut by rough edges each year. The majority of these cases could have easily been prevented, just by throwing trash away. Litter originates on land, where eventually it migrates to a waterway, and then into the ocean where it ensnares wildlife. Most of this trash goes into one of the five ‘gyres’ (a giant ocean based whirlpool) throughout the world. The largest, commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), is located between Asia and the United States. According to National Geographic, there are approximately 1.9 million pieces of plastic per single square mile in the GPGP. The ocean debris can disrupt the food chain: Plankton...