Why do People Litter?

Having read the articles, I was struck how little most of us think about the harm of litter and how seldom we pay attention to it.

In the article “Students, Keep Your Bathrooms Clean and Decent”, a horrible picture of public toilets on campuses is brought to our mind. The state of toilets shows the lack of respect for public facilities and property in general. Students’ behavior reminds of children rather than adults. Some toilet facilities are not that much attended, because there they propagate recycling, environmentally-friendly equipment, etc. It must be attracting open-minded youth, so why is it actually scaring them away?

Moreover, not only students have no regard for the cleanness and order in public areas, neither do other citizens. You can see dirty neighborhoods and streets in every town. On the Green Eco Services website, they claim that according to the poll held in 2009, “75 percent of Americans admit to littering in the past five years” (Howard). It was surprising to find out that so many people are in the habit of littering and even acknowledge it. It shows that people are not conscious of the effects littering has, they fail to see the harm of it.

The thing that strikes me most is the Sandage’s story where the beauty of nature and the pleasure of a walk around the neighborhood are spoilt by the view of trash all around the ground. Cigarette butts are easy to find in the streets. Why do people prefer to throw litter directly on the pavement rather than into a trash bin? Is it so difficult?

If general reasoning and rules of politeness are not working, maybe it is worth considering some more effective laws to punish the ones littering. If you do not leave trash in your house, what makes street a proper place for it?