Don’t Litter, Save the Critters!


Do you remember that piece of trash you dropped today? Or, did you see someone drop some trash? Well, chances are, it might be harming an animal right now!

I was coming home from my local fair, and I saw some kids my age eating food and littering. I wanted to research and write about how trash affects animals.  Everywhere, every day, pieces of trash are harming animals.

Did you know that the average person in a developed country produces about 2.6 pounds of garbage every single day?

Small animals like squirrels and raccoons can injure themselves with beer cans, metal objects, sticks and fishing hooks. They can get ill or die from swallowing cigarette butts, silicon materials or Styrofoam.

Likewise, broken glass or bottles, needles, syringes, and other sharp objects could cut their skin and flesh.

Tossing trash in the ocean, rivers and other bodies of water can travel long distances. The plastic wraps or nets can suffocate fishes and other marine animals. They could also get entangled with nylon strings or ropes.

Hungry animals tend to be desperate seeking food. Hence, they often get their heads stuck in cans, jars, and cups. These materials can be a death trap.

Discarded jars and bottles usually do not biodegrade naturally and add to humanity’s mounting litter problem.

The litter remains in landfills and clogs sewers, streets, rivers and fields. Crabs, birds and small animals may crawl into the bottles looking for food and water and become stuck and slowly die from starvation and illness.

The World Wide Fund for Nature reported some 1.5 million tons of plastic waste from the water bottling industry alone. Also, balloons that float away can become a threat to animals. Birds, turtles and other wildlife commonly mistake balloons for food, which can harm or kill them.

This year at our Lewis County Fair parade, Walmart was handing out blue and yellow helium filled balloons, instead of candy, to many kids lining the streets of the parade. Almost immediately a lot of the balloons began flying up into the sky.

After doing this research and knowing the balloons have landed somewhere, I decided to go to my local Walmart. I gave the Manager of the store a copy of my research.  I also gave them a suggestion, in writing, to hand out pencils instead of balloons next year at our local Lewis County Fair Parade.

The manager thanked me for my interest and being brave enough to come and share my concerns.

So, do you really want to harm these innocent creatures?

Maybe next time you’ll think twice before dropping your trash for some animal to find. Or when you see someone littering maybe you will tell them to stop.