How long does it take to throw away that empty soda bottle that you just finished? How about the hamburger wrapper you ate while on your lunch break? The actions we take doesn’t just affect us, but everything around us. “What do you mean?” you may ask. Well, I’ll explain it to you.
Not only is litter bad for our environment, but it drastically impacts wildlife and other animals. Animals have an amazing sense of sight and smell, which can draw them to litter when in search of food. They have no way of knowing that our waste is dangerous for them.
Waste, or trash, not only affects animals; however, affects everyone including humans. Think about it. Humans are at the top of the food chain. Hunting season has opened up for the year. You will occasional gunfire or barking dogs that are running the deer to be shot. After the animal has been killed, it is either taken to a farm to process the meat or gets cut into pieces where it has been killed. Once that process is completed, the meat goes straight into the freezer to be cooked. How many times do you make a trip to the grocery store to pick up meat for dinner? Just like the deer, the meat comes from an animal. The animals we eat has to also eat for themselves. Wild animals, like the deer, eat to survive from the land. Tamed animals, such as cattle, rely on their owners to feed them. Either way, we eat what the animal eats.
However, let’s take a different approach. What happens to us if the animal food source is taken away? How would we cope? Think about this. The trash or litter we just throw out the window while driving attracts animals. The smell from that hamburger wrapper smells really good to a deer. Unfortunately, that said wrapper can kill that deer by the deer choking on it or not able to digest it. Animals can starve when they eat too much plastic that they cannot digest. It just doesn’t have to be land animals litter affects. Scientists have found plastic fragments in 43% of marine mammal species, according to enviromentamerica.org.
Wildlife animals are becoming more adaptable to humans. We have taken over their homes, in which they are to learn how to live within the human environment. Homeowners will occasionally find a nuisance wildlife animals residing inside their home for shelter. Wildlife animals can dig into a trash that is left outside to find food. Toxic chemicals in plastic can harm animals’ health.
According to the Potomac Conservancy, here are six types of trash or litter that harm local animals.
1. Fishing Line and Accessories
Fishing line also takes a very long time to break down. It can get tangled in legs and wings, and when eaten it can cause lethal obstructions. Lead weights look like food to many birds and can cause lead poisoning.
Food remnants found on styrofoam takeout containers encourage animals to eat the container too, which can lead to choking and digestive problems.
3. Plastic Bags
Aside from being a dangerous choking and digestion hazard, once consumed, plastic chemicals can cause excess hormones.
4. Cigarette Butts