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Encyclopedia > Litter
The International Tidy Man
The International Tidy Man[1]
For other meanings of litter, see Litter (disambiguation).

Litter is waste disposed in the wrong place by unlawful human action and can vary in size of incident, occurrence or items. It can occur as small items like wrappers, large collections of waste or scatterings of litter dispersed around public places outdoors. Litter can be occasioned by malicious, careless or accidental intent and is generally disposed of illegally rather than lawfully. Litter has the potential to cause harm to human health, safety and welfare, it harms wildlife and causes environmental impact. Waste abandoned in a private space is not considered litter. The American Public Works Association standardized the term litter in the mid-20th Century, to be later known as a form of solid waste—“…material which, if thrown or deposited, tends to create a danger to public health, safety and welfare.” Litter is categorized into three specific components: hazardous, reusable-recyclable and non-hazardous, non-from trash-hauling vehicles, unsecured loads, or construction sites.[2] Image File history File links International_tidyman. ... Image File history File links International_tidyman. ... Litter may mean: Litter, anything that has been unlawfully scattered or abandoned. ... For other uses, see Waste (disambiguation). ... Illegal, or unlawful, is either prohibitted or not authorized by law. ... For other uses, see Waste (disambiguation). ... Malice is a legal term referring to a partys intention to do injury to another party. ... Torino is an album by the UK band Cinerama. ... In physics, a potential may refer to the scalar potential or to the vector potential. ... For other uses, see Waste (disambiguation). ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the...


Who's to blame for litter?

Litter in the habitat of a lizard
Litter in the habitat of a lizard

Some commonly-blamed groups are customers of fast food outlets, smokers and young adults.[citation needed] Studies show that areas which are allowed to remain dirty are prone to becoming dirtier, i.e. litter gives "permission" to litter. There are also natural causes such as high winds disturbing litter containers. Litter can be a result of lack of education.[citation needed] Image File history File links Erhard's_wall_lizard_spotted. ... Image File history File links Erhard's_wall_lizard_spotted. ... For other uses, see Lizard (disambiguation). ... Fast food is food prepared and served quickly at a fast-food restaurant or shop at low cost. ... Broken windows in the Pruitt-Igoe housing development Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles is a criminology book published in 1996, about petty crime and strategies to contain or eliminate it from urban neighbourhoods. ...

Francis McAndrew's Environmental Psychology, a textbook used by scholars to explain littering by humans, reports that women, youth, rural dwellers and live-alone peoples litter more than men, seniors, urban dwellers and multi-person households.[3] Picnickers, hunters, fishermen, campers, motorboaters, water skiers, careless pedestrians, motorists, truck drivers, construction and loading dock workers, are prime litter providers. Prototype research by the state of Texas "profiled" litterers being males, youth under age 25, smokers, and frequenters to bars, parties and fast food restaurants. These research results are replicated by many state governments to tailor and enforce litter eradication programs. A pedestrian at the intersection of Alinga Street and Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, Australia A pedestrian is a person travelling on foot, whether walking or running. ... For other uses, see Texas (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ...

Many factors contribute to why people choose to litter, according to McAndrew. He argues the “presence of other litter” is a powerful instigator. Studies confirm that litter begets litter. A “disconnect from reality” – apathy – is a second dynamic. Research by Keep America Beautiful in 1999 found 75 percent of Americans admitted to littering in the last five years, yet 99 percent of the same surveyed individuals admitted they enjoyed a clean environment. Negligent, lax law enforcement contributes significantly to this disconnect. Generally, violations must be witnessed to be legally pursued. Inconvenience is another influence. Entitlement is a fourth dynamic to why people litter. A fifth factor is class alienation leading to poor education of individuals. “Dumping is a social activity we learn from...parents and pass on unconsciously to...children.” Litterers are “raised badly” by parents--“…vandals with little sense [of the] damage they do.” The temptation to litter can be motivated “by greed” and ignorance about the law and its actual enforcement, according to a Federal document by The United States Department of Justice, mentioning the criminal intent of suspects arrested for illegal waste disposal, reassured by lax law enforcement. Finally, governmental neglect influences littering. “Government… [has followed] the path of least resistance…[in addressing] externalities…that may pose…health threat[s]…to nearby communities.” Culturally biased indifference by public servants causes some communities to have persistent dumping problems.[4] Keep America Beautiful Founded in 1953, the organization is best known for the famous Crying Indian public service advertisement, which launched on the first Earth Day in 1971. ... For the band, see The Police. ... In economics, dumping can refer to any kind of predatory pricing, and is by most definitions a form of price discrimination. ... United States Government redirects here. ... Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C. For animal rights group, see Justice Department (JD) The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is a Cabinet department in the United States government designed to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the... In the parlance of criminal justice, a suspect is a term used to refer to a person, known or unknown, suspected of committing a crime. ...

Effects on the environment

Materials dumped downhill from an unpaved road on state game lands
Materials dumped downhill from an unpaved road on state game lands

Litter can harm the environment. It is unsightly and uncollected litter can attract more. Animals may get trapped or poisoned with litter in their habitats.[5] Litter can end up in rivers and canals, polluting the water supply. A large amount of floating waste ends up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Plastic waste can be consumed by wildlife, with negative health consequences. The North Pacific Gyre is one of five major oceanic gyres The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of marine debris in the North Pacific Gyre, and is also known as the Plastic soup, the Eastern Garbage Patch, and the Pacific Trash Vortex. ...

Vermin and disease are rife in places with high amounts of litter. Open containers such as paper cups or beverage cans can hold rainwater, providing breeding locations for mosquitoes which have been known to cause disease like the West Nile Virus or Malaria. It is also a road hazard and can occasionally contribute to accidents. Look up vermin in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the medical term. ... For other uses, see Mosquito (disambiguation). ... This article is about the medical term. ... West Nile virus (or WNV) is a virus of the family Flaviviridae; part of the Japanese encephalitis (JE) antigenic complex of viruses, it is found in both tropical and temperate regions. ... Malaria is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites. ...

Litter is a breeding ground for disease causing insects and rodents, features most prominently for its “ugliness” that damages scenic environments. Trash collects into streams, and storm water drainage systems, flowing into local bays and estuaries. Cigarette butts and filters, a threat to wildlife, have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds and whales, who have mistaken them for food.[4] This article is about the medical term. ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Symphypleona - globular springtails Subclass Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails) Subclass Dicondylia Monura - extinct Thysanura (common bristletails) Subclass Pterygota Diaphanopteroidea - extinct Palaeodictyoptera - extinct Megasecoptera - extinct Archodonata - extinct Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Blattodea (cockroaches) Mantodea (mantids) Isoptera (termites) Zoraptera Grylloblattodea Dermaptera (earwigs) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets... Families Many, see text The order Rodentia is the most numerous of all the branches on the mammal family tree. ... Look up trash in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... STREAMS is the Unix System V networking architecture. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water which has a free connection with the open sea and within which sea water mixes with fresh water. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Fish (disambiguation). ... For other meanings of bird, see bird (disambiguation). ... Whales are the largest species of exclusively aquatic placental mammals, members of the order Cetacea, which also includes dolphins and porpoises. ...

In March 2008, "The American State Litter Scorecard," ranking the fifty U.S. states on overall quality/effectiveness of litter removal programs, was presented at the American Society for Public Administration National Conference. Best states included Vermont, Minnesota, New Jersey, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Wyoming--all outside the Sunbelt. Worst states included Mississippi, Nevada, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, New Mexico and South Carolina--most being inside the Sunbelt. The association sponsoring conferences and providing professional services primarily to those who study the implementation of government policy, public administration, and, to a lesser degree, programs of civil society. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Capital Saint Paul Largest city Minneapolis Largest metro area Minneapolis-St. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Official language(s) none (de facto English) Demonym Connecticuter or Connecticutian[2] Capital Hartford Largest city Bridgeport[3] Largest metro area Hartford Metro Area[4] Area  Ranked 48th in the US  - Total 5,543[5] sq mi (14,356 km²)  - Width 70 miles (113 km)  - Length 110 miles (177 km... For other uses, see New Hampshire (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English Capital Cheyenne Largest city Cheyenne Area  Ranked 10th  - Total 97,818 sq mi (253,348 km²)  - Width 280 miles (450 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 0. ... Categories: Stub | Belt regions of the United States ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Nevada. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Official language(s) none (de facto English) Demonym West Virginian Capital Charleston Largest city Charleston Largest metro area Charleston metro area Area  Ranked 41st in the US  - Total 24,230 sq mi (62,755 km²)  - Width 130 miles (210 km)  - Length 240 miles (385 km)  - % water 0. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... For other uses, see New Mexico (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English Capital Columbia Largest city Columbia Largest metro area Columbia Area  Ranked 40th  - Total 34,726 sq mi (82,965 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 260 miles (420 km)  - % water 6  - Latitude 32° 2′ N to 35° 13′ N  - Longitude 78° 32′ W to 83...


Litter in the habitat of a human
Litter in the habitat of a human

Prior to reforms within cities in the mid to late 1800s, sanitation was not a priority on governments’ lists of things to do. Waste was disposed of by the roadside or in small local dumps. It was unsanitary for local inhabitants and the growing piles of waste led to the spread of disease. Farms and gardens have also long recognized the benefits of composting food waste and biodegradable waste. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x3072, 3330 KB) This image was originally posted to Flickr as Meizhou Roamer. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x3072, 3330 KB) This image was originally posted to Flickr as Meizhou Roamer. ... This article is about modern humans. ... For other uses, see Garden (disambiguation). ...

From ancient Greece to the present day Western hemisphere, humans have thrown unwanted refuse onto streets, countrysides and remote places, unpunished.[4] The only known pre-modern exception, however, was the Arab Empire, especially in Cordoba, al-Andalus, which had facilities for litter collection.[6] The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. ... The geographical western hemisphere of Earth, highlighted in yellow. ... The Arab Empire at its greatest extent The Arab Empire usually refers to the following Caliphates: Rashidun Caliphate (632 - 661) Umayyad Caliphate (661 - 750) - Successor of the Rashidun Caliphate Umayyad Emirate in Islamic Spain (750 - 929) Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in Islamic Spain (929 - 1031) Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258... Location Coordinates : , , Time zone : CET (GMT +1) - summer : CEST (GMT +2) General information Native name Córdoba (Spanish) Spanish name Córdoba Founded 8th century BC Postal code 140xx Website http://www. ... Al-Andalus is the Arabic name given the Iberian Peninsula by its Muslim conquerors; it refers to both the Caliphate proper and the general period of Muslim rule (711–1492). ...

In the 14th century, the rise of waste in Europe helped contribute to the bubonic plague[citation needed]. Black rats carried the fleas which were the vectors for the plague fed off biodegradable waste that was discarded by the public. Bubonic plague is the best-known manifestation of the bacterial disease plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. ... Rattus rattus redirects here. ... In epidemiology, a vector is an organism that does not cause disease itself but which spreads infection by conveying pathogens from one host to another. ... Biodegradable waste is a type of waste, typically originating from plant or animal sources, which may be broken down by other living organisms. ...

During the times of colonial exploration and expansion starting in the 1600s, littering was not uncommon on seafaring vessels[citation needed]. Boats were small, packed with goods, cramped with people, and dirty. After meals people would discard leftovers or broken plates or cups by throwing them overboard into the sea. Certain goods that were found to be tainted or broken were also thrown overboard. During George Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River to defeat the Hessians, littering had occurred[citation needed]. Washington's men had carried small supplies of food onboard with them, but prior to battle, the food was tossed away. In present day, litter is all around us. City streets and sidewalks are covered with candy bar wrappers, soda bottles, tissues and papers[citation needed]. Waste is often thrown out of windows of automobiles or out of hands of people. This is done intentionally for the discarding of unwanted goods[citation needed]. It can be considered both unsightly and rude.
This article is about food. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)[1] led Americas Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. ... For the Delaware River in Kansas, see Delaware River (Kansas). ... The term Hessian refers to the inhabitants of the German state of Hesse. ...

Legal consequences

California posts the maximum fine on its ubiquitous signs
California posts the maximum fine on its ubiquitous signs
Litter scattered across the ground
Litter scattered across the ground
Litter floating in an irrigation canal
Litter floating in an irrigation canal

Litter can be expensive to clean up, so the act of littering has been made a fineable offense by statute in many places. Image File history File links 1000dollarfineforlitteringsign. ... Image File history File links 1000dollarfineforlitteringsign. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2848 × 2136 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2848 × 2136 pixel, file size: 1. ... FINE was created in 1998 and is an informal association of the four main Fair Trade networks: F Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) I International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) N Network of European Worldshops (NEWS!) and E European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) // The aim of FINE is to enable these... The Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ...

In the United States, litter laws, enforcement efforts, and court prosecutions are used to help curtail littering. All three are part of a "comprehensive response to environmental violators", write Epstein and Hammett, researchers for the United States Department of Justice. State laws appear to take precedence over municipal ordinances in controlling litter and act as public safety, not aesthetic measures. Similar state to state, laws define whom the laws apply to, the type or "function" of the person committing the action, and what items must be littered or dumped to constitute an illegal act. Municipal ordinances and state statutes by-and-large require "human action" in committing an act of illegal littering or dumping for one to be "held in violation." Some believe anti-litter statutes are "simply not enforced, or with the lowest priority." There is "...a perception [by law enforcement personnel] that environmental crimes are not real crimes." Most states require law enforcement officers to "...witness the illegal act to write a citation." Since the 1970s court prosecutions became important in fighting illegal littering and dumping. A national survey of prosecutors noted the most important factor to prosecute an offense was the "degree of harm" it posed and the "criminal intent" of the offender. America's most prosecuted littering offense involve illegal disposals of hazardous waste. Civil and criminal fines are the “most common strategy governments use to control environmental behaviors.” Most criminal offenders choose to settle out of court. For small littering, a monetary penalty and/or a specified number of hours picking up litter or community service is typical chastisement. Going to jail for a littering/dumping conviction is still a rarity.[4] This article is about law in society. ... A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ... Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C. For animal rights group, see Justice Department (JD) The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is a Cabinet department in the United States government designed to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the... For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ... A municipality or general-purpose district (compare with: special-purpose district) is an administrative local area generally composed of a clearly defined territory and commonly referring to a city, town, or village government. ... A municipality or general-purpose district (compare with: special-purpose district) is an administrative local area generally composed of a clearly defined territory and commonly referring to a city, town, or village government. ... A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ... The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries adopting the common law adversarial system or the civil law inquisitorial system. ... why can u change this im serious. ... For other uses, see Crime (disambiguation). ... Community service refers to service that a person performs for the benefit of his or her local community. ...

For example, in the U.S. state of California, the punishment for first-time littering starts at a 100 (USD) fine and eight hours of picking up roadside litter. A defendant's third offense and all subsequent offenses are punished with a minimum penalty of a $750 fine and 24 hours of litter cleanup (per offense).[7] Such penalties are often prominently posted on roadside signs. Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of... This article is about the U.S. state. ... USD redirects here. ...

In Georgia, the Comprehensive Litter Prevention and Abatement Act was signed into law in 2006. Litterers can be fined up to $1,000 and be ordered to clean a littered area in the community.[8]

In the UK there is a maximum fine of £2,500 for persistent littering. Different local authorities also have the powers to impose on the spot fines to those caught littering. These are generally under £100.[9] The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country in western Europe, and member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, the European Union, and NATO. Usually known simply as the United Kingdom, the UK, or (inaccurately) as Great Britain or Britain, the UK has four constituent...

Cases are heard in the Magistrates' Court. Approximately 400 people were prosecuted last year by the police for littering. Alternatively, in some areas you could get a £50 fixed penalty fine for littering from the local authority litter warden. The Offence of Leaving Litter (section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990) says that if a person drops, throws deposits or leaves anything so as to cause defacement in a public place; they could be committing a littering offence. The same applies if you see litter thrown from cars. Police officers or litter wardens are empowered and trained to deal with offenders. If you have information about a littering incident you could report it to the police, the local authority or a litter warden, but it is up to them to decide whether they wish to proceed any further. Whilst it is possible to take a private prosecution, it would be at a person’s own expense and you will need strong evidence to prove your case in court.[10] The UK EPA 1990 covers: Part I Integrated Pollution Control (now superseded by Intergrated Pollution Prevention and Contol) including authorisations, enforcements, publicity, and provisions as to offences Part II Waste including on land, harmful depositing, treatment, duty of care, waste management licences, controlled wastes, special and uncontrolled wastes, publicity, supervision...

Some jurisdictions offer small bounties for the cleaning of litter (for example, requiring people to pay a deposit on bottles, which is only returned when the bottles are returned). In some countries such as Australia, certain areas have a similar scheme but the person bringing the bottle back in gains a small reward.[citation needed] Deposit notice on a bottle sold in Continental U.S., indicating the containers deposit value in various states. ...


  1. ^ Public Information Films : 1964 to 1979 : Film index : Keep Britain Tidy
  2. ^ Litter. It Costs You.
  3. ^ McAndrews, Francis. (1993) Environmental Psychology. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  4. ^ a b c d Spacek, Stephen [Steve] L. (2004), DO MESS WITH IT!: A Sociopolitical Study of Littering and the Role of Southern and Nearby States, Texas State University, <http://ecommons.txstate.edu/arp/27/> 
  5. ^ Wildlife Injuries Noyes, K (2006) Clean-Up Your Trash, Charity Guide
  6. ^ S. P. Scott (1904), History of the Moorish Empire in Europe, 3 vols, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London.
    F. B. Artz (1980), The Mind of the Middle Ages, Third edition revised, University of Chicago Press, pp 148-50.
    (cf. References, 1001 Inventions)
  7. ^ Littering Department of Motor Vehicles, California
  8. ^ Litter. It Costs You.
  9. ^ A site with much information on litter laws in the UK

The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the U.S. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of texts covering... Look up Cf. ...


  Results from FactBites:
Litter (654 words)
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The act of littering is considered a fineable offense in many areas.
A litter is also the term used to describe the delivery of young for many mammals, such as dogs and cats.
A litter is also a chair mounted on a platform and designed to be carried from place to place (holding its occupant) under human power.
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