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Scottish Survey Respondents Say Waste Has a Negative Effect on their Wellbeing
Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard we work to recycle more, litter is still a huge problem. Even though local authorities have done everything in their power in recent months to keep recycling collections going, the litter problem has only got worse.
A national survey on littering in Scotland has found that many people believe that littering and waste has a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.
The Big Litter Survey asked 731 people to share their thoughts on littering and fly-tipping in their local area over the last few months. The survey was carried out a part of the anti-litter campaign ‘Don’t Trash Our Future.’ Here’s what it found:
Most people think that litter is a big problem in their area
47% of people said it was a big problem, while 41% said it was a major issue.
11% thought it was only a small problem, while 1% said they had no problem with it at all.
Litter affects mental health
22% of people said that seeing litter made them feel sad or depressed. More than half said it made them feel angry.
Litter has gotten worse at lockdown has eased
64% of people said litter was worse now that lockdown has eased.
Only 6% said litter had decreased, while 28% said it was about the same.
Fast food wrappers are the most littered items
When asked what kind of litter people saw on a regular basis, a whopping 88% of people said that fast food wrappers were the most prevalent, including wrappers and packaging from McDonald’s, KFC, Costa, Greggs, and Tesco. This was closely followed by plastic bottles which 77% of people said they saw on a regular basis, and plastic bags, which were noted by 50% of respondents.
Other types of regularly discarded litter in the survey were nitrous oxide canisters, chewing gum, and receipts.
Less than half of people would confront a litter lout
45% of people said they would be very unlikely to confront someone they saw dropping litter.
31% said they might confront someone.
22% said they would report it.
Most people know that littering is a criminal offence
81% of people said they knew that littering was a criminal offence, but only 9% of people said they knew someone who had been fined.
Just 1% of respondents said they had been fined.
62% of people said the maximum fine for littering should be more than the current £150. 17% would support a fine of £1000+.
Most people think local authorities need to do more
A huge 97% of people surveyed think that local authorities should do more to enforce littering laws.
83% of people want more litter and recycling bins in their local area.
15% of people think there are enough bins while only 1% think there are already too many.
The real impact of litter and waste on communities like yours
You might think ‘does it really matter if I don’t recycle this drinks can?’ when you’re out and about, and yes, it does matter if the can ends up as litter. Imagine if everyone thought like this.
Aside from looking unsightly, litter can have far-reaching effects on communities and wellbeing like:
- People don’t want to spend time in their local area if it’s strewn with litter. Because people are deterred from going out in their area, this can mean that they are less likely to be physically active, which has a significant impact on health.
- If areas are littered and uncared for, they can become hotspots for crime and antisocial behaviour which is a worry for many people.
- Litter can attract vermin and other pests which poses a health hazard.
- Research has shown that people who live in clean, green areas have better physical and mental health. People who live in rundown areas where there is a lot of litter are more likely to become anxious and depressed.
- Local authorities spend a lot of money on clearing up litter which could be better spent in communities and helping people who really need it.
- Litter makes people not want to visit cities, towns, or villages, and this can have a major impact on tourism and the local businesses that might depend on that tourism to survive.
Litter has so many negative effects on everything from the environment to our health, and the things is, it’s a problem that’s avoidable, if we all just make an effort to reduce our waste, recycle more, and bin our rubbish or take it home.