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How is litter killing our water-bound wildlife?

Litter in waterways is a major environmental issue that can have devastating effects on wildlife. Every year, countless tons of plastic and other waste end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans, contaminating these critical habitats and putting countless species at risk. In this blog post, we'll explore the impact of litter on wildlife in waterways and what we can do to help.

One of the most significant ways that litter affects wildlife in waterways is by entangling and suffocating animals. Birds, reptiles, and marine mammals can become trapped in discarded fishing line, plastic rings, and other forms of litter. This can lead to injury, death, and the loss of valuable habitats for these species. On average the RSPCA responds to 10 calls a day about animals affected by litter and that's only the ones that are reported, (How Littering Harms Animals, RSPCA).

Litter can also harm wildlife by releasing toxic chemicals into the water. Many forms of plastic contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) that can leach into the water and harm animals that live there. This can cause a variety of health problems, including birth defects, reproductive issues, and immune system damage.

In addition to these direct effects, litter can also have indirect effects on wildlife in waterways. For example, litter can be mistaken as a source of food for animals. Plastics such as bags, balloons and elastic bands will cause choking and suffocation. 

So, what can we do to help reduce the impact of litter on wildlife in waterways? Here are a few simple steps you can take:

  1. Reduce your use of single-use plastics. Choose reusable products whenever possible, such as cloth grocery bags, water bottles, and containers for food storage.

  2. Properly dispose of litter. Always recycle when possible and dispose of waste in a responsible manner.

  3. Support clean-up efforts. Participate in local clean-up efforts or support organizations that work to remove litter from waterways.

  4. Educate others. Share information about the impact of litter on wildlife in waterways and encourage others to take action.

In conclusion, litter in waterways is a major environmental issue that can have devastating effects on wildlife. From entangling animals to releasing toxic chemicals into the water, litter poses a serious threat to the health and survival of countless species. By taking simple steps to reduce our use of single-use plastics and properly dispose of waste, we can help protect wildlife in waterways and preserve these critical habitats for future generations.

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