Litter is a growing concern throughout the UK, with the majority of people understanding the damage litter does to the environment, but there is another huge impact that most people don’t consider as they drop their rubbish, and that's the impact on personal health.
Often overlooked, the effects of litter on personal health can be significant and wide-ranging.
From physical ailments to mental well-being, the presence of litter in our surroundings can have adverse consequences that can have serious impact.
But how does litter negatively affect human health and what can be done to address this pressing issue?
Litter, particularly in the form of plastic bags, cigarette butts, and other non-biodegradable materials, contributes to air pollution. When litter is burned or breaks down over time, it releases harmful toxins and fine particles into the air. These pollutants can trigger respiratory issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections. Prolonged exposure to polluted air can also lead to long-term lung damage.
Improperly disposed of litter can find its way into water bodies, contaminating them and posing a threat to public health. Plastic waste, for instance, takes hundreds of years to decompose, breaking down into microplastics that infiltrate the water supply. Consumption of contaminated water can lead to various waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, and possibly can cause severe illness.
Litter, especially when it includes discarded food containers or stagnant water, creates an ideal breeding ground for disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes and rodents. Accumulated litter also attracts pests that carry harmful bacteria, further increasing the potential for infections and health complications.
Litter strewn across public spaces increases the risk of accidental injuries. Broken glass, sharp objects, or improperly disposed of needles can cause cuts, punctures, and infections. Such injuries not only pose immediate health risks but also increase the chances of developing secondary infections if wounds are not treated promptly and properly. Additionally, litter-filled pathways and roads may obstruct pathways, leading to slips, trips, and falls, which can result in fractures or other injuries.
Mental and Emotional Well-being
Living in areas heavily littered with debris can have a negative impact on mental and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that exposure to littered environments can evoke feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. Littered spaces can induce a sense of disorder and lack of safety, leading to decreased overall life satisfaction and an increased risk of mental health issues.
But what can be done?
The consequences of litter on personal health are substantial and diverse, encompassing respiratory problems, diseases, accidental injuries, and mental well-being. It is crucial to recognise the link between a clean environment and human health. Here at Kingdom L A Support we pride ourselves in being able to offer a wide range of products and services that can help tackle littering and fly-
tipping. By actively engaging in responsible waste disposal practices, promoting recycling and education, and supporting initiatives to combat litter, we can help local authorities to improve the well-being of communities and create a healthier future for generations to come. The time for action is now, as we all share the responsibility of ensuring a cleaner, safer and greener environment for everyone.
To find out more please contact John Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org