Humans, animals and plants all need unpolluted water to survive. Litter can also clog storm-water drains and cause flooding. Food scraps and other organic items that are disposed of improperly can increase algal blooms in water, which reduces the amount of available oxygen for other aquatic life, such as fish.

Litter consists of trash and household toxic substances that are improperly disposed of on land or in water. Whether the litter is intentional or unintentional, large or small, it can drastically affect the environment for years to come. Before carelessly tossing another item out the window or looking the other way when someone else does, consider the impact you can make on the environment by recycling, reusing and disposing of waste properly.

Litter that is tossed into the ocean can travel long distances with the currents and winds. Not only does this litter directly affect marine life and birds, but it also washes onto beaches, is caught in fishing nets, damages boat motors, is an eyesore and smells bad. Plastic bags and plastic wrap can asphyxiate marine animals and fish, and birds can easily entangle themselves in plastic six-pack rings and strings. Animals also get sick or die from swallowing trash, such as cigarettes and silicon packets. Land litter is not hard to spot and comes in all types -- cigarette butts, plastic bags, old tires, fast food wrappers and plastic and glass bottles. 

Seven major sources contribute to land litter: 

  1. Home trash cans, 
  2. Business trash collection areas,
  3. Loading docks,
  4. Construction and demolition sites, 
  5. Uncovered trucks, 
  6. Motorists and pedestrians. 

Litter isn't just unsightly: It can cause vehicle accidents and injuries, smother plants, start fires and harm or kill animals. It also attracts rats and harmful bacteria. t the flesh of birds and other animals.

Proper waste management is important to avoid contamination, especially when the waste is hazardous. But more importantly, households and businesses should exercise waste minimization or waste avoidance, which involves recycling old items, repairing broken items, donating items no longer in use, avoiding the use of disposable items, etc., to reduce the amount of waste that will end up in landfills.