There has been a lot of research into why people drop litter. Here are some of the findings:
‘It keeps someone in a job
’. Some people think that because litter pickers are employed to pick up litter they are doing them a favour by dropping litter. This is not true. If everyone used the litter bins more people would be needed to empty the bins and stop them overflowing so they would still have a job. It would also stop some of the litter getting blown around and trapped in places that don’t get litter picked, so the environment would be much cleaner and more attractive.
‘This place is already filthy’. It has been found that where litter is already present people are more likely to drop their litter. If a place is clean and tidy they are less likely to drop litter. This is why it is important to keep areas free of litter and where it occurs pick it up as soon as possible.
‘It’s not my problem
Some people are more likely to drop litter when they don’t feel any sense of ownership. If they don’t feel that the park or street belongs to them they don’t try to keep it looking nice. We should try to take a pride in ‘our street’, ‘our park’, ‘our school’ and ‘our town’ and do our best to keep it looking great. If we look after it, visitors from other areas are more likely to be impressed and to look after it too.
‘There aren’t enough bins’. It is a common complaint that there aren’t enough bins or that they are in the wrong place. Although the council is always increasing the number of bins available there is a limit to how many can be provided because of the cost involved in installation and maintenance. There are never going to be so many bins so that every time you need one it is right beside you. We all have to get into the habit of putting our rubbish in our pockets or bags until we find a bin.
‘Everyone does it – we don’t even think about it
’. Research into teenagers’ attitudes to littering show that the majority of teenagers who drop litter do it without even thinking about it. Finding a bin would get in the way of whatever else they are doing and it is easier just to drop litter. They do not think of the consequences of littering for themselves or the environment. Hopefully once they are more aware of the consequences of littering they will be more responsible and put their litter in the bin or their pocket.