Since Midland is facing many challenges in the midst of its growth, you may ask, “Why litter?” Besides being one of the easiest changes we can make on an individual level in our community, here are a few reasons on why littering:

Litter is expensive. Houses for sale in littered neighborhoods usually don’t get the best prices and owners lose money. Fires started by dropped or dumped litter cause millions of dollars of damage every year.

Litter costs communities. Clean communities have a better chance of attracting new business and residents and tourists. Long term less revenue to city, county and state coffers, meaning higher taxes.

Litter hurts people. Every year there are numerous vehicle accidents caused by litter. People in these accidents are injured and sometimes even killed in their attempts to avoid litter in the roadways. Young children fall on litter in playgrounds, get cut and need medical attention.

Litter also harms plants and degrades natural areas. When garbage is dumped, it can kill or stunt plant growth. Few people think about the harm to natural areas from litter.

Litter kills or injures animals. Many small animals crawl into bottles or jars and get stuck and slowly starve to death. Animals get caught in plastic six pack rings, plastic bags, fishing line and a multitude of throwaways. Birds that are stuck, can’t fly away from danger. Sometimes animals caught in six pack rings are strangled as they grow too big for the opening. Animals get cut, infected and die. Every year, millions of birds, fish and animals die from litter.

Litter carries germs. Scavengers such as rats are drawn to lots of litter. Rats are carriers of many types of diseases that make people ill.

Litter harms water quality. Careless dumping of hazardous waste seeps into surrounding soil and causes groundwater pollution.

Litter is a problem that can be controlled. Education is an important tool. People who are aware of the dangers of litter often make more of an effort to always put their trash the correct place. They also spread the word to others they see littering and teach them to dispose of garbage the right way. Community cleanups encourage people to take pride in their community and keep it clean. Quick removal of litter keeps it from growing into an unmanageable dump site. People can make a difference. Litter can be conquered.