Littering is a serious problem that affects the environment in many ways. Not only does littering create an eyesore, but it also causes damage to ecosystems, harms wildlife, and pollutes our waterways.
In the US, 51 billion bits of litter are discarded every year, and every year millions of animals are harmed by litter that they eat or get entangled in. Plastic litter in the oceans is particularly a killer.
Fortunately, a simple step can help, and when taken collectively and at scale, can add up to a big impact: litter-picking.
Litter picking can be as simple as picking up rubbish on a walk or as organised as a community-wide event. Some of our Giki community even do it regularly with their children. One of the most significant benefits of litter picking is that it helps to keep our environment clean and healthy. When litter is left on the ground, it can break down and release harmful chemicals into the soil and water, harming plants and wildlife and disrupting the natural balance of the environment.
In addition to the environmental benefits, litter picking also has social benefits. When individuals take the initiative to clean up their communities, it sends a powerful message that people care about their environment and are willing to take action to protect it. This can help to create a sense of community pride and a shared commitment to keeping the environment clean and healthy. You’ll also cut carbon and save your community money by reducing public services sent to clean up.
Many people find that getting outside and picking up litter can be a great way to take a walk in nature to destress, keep fit and healthy and remind how beautiful nature is and why we preserve it. It can also be a great way to meet new people and make friends who share a common interest in protecting the environment. Another favourite step on Giki is to get out and connect with nature so you can commit and complete two steps in one!
If you’re interested in getting involved in litter picking, there are many ways to get started. One easy way is to pick up litter whenever you see it on the ground. This can be on a walk around your neighbourhood or while out enjoying nature. You can also organise your litter-picking event with friends, family, or the community. This can be a great way to make a bigger impact and to get others involved to keep the environment clean.
If you’re looking for inspiration then look no further than ultra-runner Damien Hall, who completed the gruelling 268-mile Spine Race while collecting rubbish along the way. Damien and his team of pacers on the race helped clean the famous trail of litter as they ran, stuffing it in their packs before handing it to support team members at road crossing meet-up points.
It’s a great example of how someone thinks about sustainability while living their life and taking climate action while doing it. Damien inspires lots of people through his profile in sport but we’re all able to lead by example and demonstrate to others how to think carbon.
If you’re looking for a way to measure and track your impact, then check out our free carbon calculators and find out how much carbon you’re saving. Seeing the impact of your climate action can make you more motivated to find out more, and it gives you something fun to share with your family, friends, colleagues, or community groups and invite them to join you.
Litter picking is a simple action that can have a good impact on the environment and your community. Whether you’re picking up litter on your own or organising a community-wide clean-up event, every piece removed from the environment is a step towards a cleaner, healthier planet.
So why not try and see how you can make a difference in your community?