Why do people litter even though they know it is wrong?

Many friends, families, neighbours and co-workers came together last week to help with keeping our environment clean

Sylvan Lake News columnist Leanne Bertram shares her experience participating in the community clean up



Many friends, families, neighbours and co-workers came together last week to help with keeping our environment clean taking time out of their busy schedules to help out with the picking of litter during Sylvan’s annual Pitch In Week.

It is nice to see so many doing their part in creating a cleaner, greener community. Picking up litter on nature trails, along the lake, beside the roadways, in empty lots and parks. Whether you were only able to help out for 20 minutes, by getting involved you are making a positive impact on our environment and what you do truly makes a difference.

Many people don’t realize that sometimes it’s our day to day actions that can have the greatest impact on the environment.

What is litter? Whenever waste is not properly disposed of, it is considered litter. Litter is found everywhere and includes everything from candy wrappers,pieces of paper,pop cans and even cigarette butts.

While I was participating in Pitch In Week, I couldn’t help but wonder, why do people litter? Are they really that lazy? Is it accidental or do they just not care? Attitudes maybe? Are there really no garbage bins accessible?

Just thinking of how long it takes for these items to decompose is enough to keep me from littering:

Cigarette butts, 15 years

Plastic grocery bags, 100 years

Disposable diaper, 450 years

Aluminium can, 200 to 500 years

Styrofoam Cup, 1000 years

Plastic Bottle, up to 1 million years

Glass bottle, 1 million years

The benefits of picking up littering, as well as not littering in the first place are endless. You are protecting animals, fish, birds, and plant life from the risks that trash bring. You are sending a message to others that you care about your surroundings and people should not discard their unwanted items just anywhere. You are leading by example, instilling positive change eventually more people will start to help.

On Friday of last week I was out with my family picking up litter along Memorial Drive. And what item did I pick up the most of? If you guessed cigarette butts you are correct.

Did you know that cigarette butts are one of the most littered item in the world?

Globally, approximately 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered every year. In most Western countries cigarette butt litter accounts for around 50% of all litter. Almost 1 in 3cigarette butts end up as litter and it can take up to 12 years for a cigarette butt to break down.

Cigarette butts can leach chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into our marine environment within an hour of contact with water and have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals which leads to ingestion of hazardous chemicals and digestive blockages

Fire season is upon us, please dispose of your butts responsibly. Proper disposal is important.

We all need to generate less waste, reuse and recycle more often.


Just Posted

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake students prepare for the day with a breakfast program

Ecole Fox Run School provides a free Breakfast Program to the students

Sylvan Lake pooches could soon see access to the lake

Town staff is investigating possible locations for dog access to the water

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake bantam Lions fall at provincial semi-finals

The Lions faced the Edmotnon Mustangs in the semi-finals, Nov. 10

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake PeeWee B Lakers win gold at home tournament

Both the PeeWee B and C Lakers hosted a home tournament, Nov. 9-11.

Sylvan Lake student reaches nationals in quiz competition

Annika Angelstad van Elmpt competed with Manitoba in the Pony Club National Quiz competition

First Nation marks ‘milestone’ land deal at Alberta ceremony

Lubicon Lake First Nation Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan signed treaty last month

EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.

Canfor to buy 70 per cent stake in Swedish Vida Group for $580 million

The privately held company has nine sawmills in southern Sweden with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet.

Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi’s killing

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Mixing business and family: Trudeau turns to Singapore ancestors to widen trade

Trudeau’s ancestor, Esther Bernard, born Farquhar (1796-1838) was the daughter of Major-General William Farquhar (1774-1839), the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore.

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Most Read