Why is littering bad? What effects can it have on you and your environment ? Define the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle). What effects do they have?

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jraineharrison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Littering adversely affects public health.  Not only is litter unsightly, trash can be a breeding ground for rodents and insects, lead to ground and water pollution, and lead to disease.  First, trash attracts rodents, flies, mosquitos, and other insects. These animals and insects then start to interact more with the human population.  Rodents, such as rats, may carry diseases that may be passed on to human beings.  Second, trash leads to ground and water pollution.  As the trash decomposes, the soil becomes polluted.  As the soil becomes polluted, so does our food and water supply.  Polluted water supplies can lead to disease, as was discovered by one of the fathers of public health, John Snow.  When insects interact more with human or food and water supplies becomes polluted, an increase in the spread of disease results.  

One method to reduce littering is recycling.  Recycling is typically promoted through the three R's, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reduce indicates that individuals should cut down on their consumption that would lead to waste products.  For example, instead of buying six small bottles of soda, one larger bottle yields the same amount with less waste.  Reuse would suggest a way of using the soda bottle again.  For example, it may be used for a science project, or storing something in the home. Recycle indicates that once someone has finished using the soda bottle, that the bottle is recycled.  That is, the bottle is broken down so that the plastic may be used again for another purpose.