Litter can kill or injure animals! Max A Pooch, the recycled dog who picks up litter, has a buddy named Sammy, a golden-doodle who had to have major surgery because of litter. The expensive procedure was needed in order to remove something as seemingly innocent as a tennis ball that Sammy found in a park and swallowed.
Ironically, while Max A Pooch is proving to people picking up litter is so easy even a dog can do it, Chicago must mount a costly effort to remove litter that people don’t bother to pick-up.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the city moves more than 25 tons of trash each summer weekend from its lake front beaches. A lot of that trash is litter. The city even needs a fleet of seven trucks with special surf rakes to comb the sand uncovering litter.
Litter is not only unsightly it is an equal opportunity killer. Litter can injure, maim or kill animals whether they are mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians. If you litter you are likely to cause either the death or injury to animals. That is the stark truth.
A piece of food thrown out of a car window may seem innocuous. The odds are it will attract an animal such as a rodent, or raccoon, or even a deer . If the animal is struck by a car its body becomes a magnate for predators and scavengers ranging from foxes to coyotes, to crows, to owls, to vultures. All of which in turn can become road kill and ironically attract even more animals causing a grisly chain reaction of death started by an apple core.
A visit to the lake front, or streams and inland lakes that are found in Chicago parks and forest preserves reveals a potpourri of potential litter-traps for unwary animals.
The plastic loops that hold six packs together can strangle animals who may stick their heads through them. Partially empty water bottles that have their caps on are a magnet to some dogs, who may chew off the bottle caps in an attempt to get to the water in the bottles, only to choke on the bottle cap.
Monofilament line stripped from a fishing reel by a frustrated fisherman is a hazard to everything from fish to wading birds. If an unsuspecting animal becomes ensnared in a tangle of fishing line, the likelihood of it ever disentangling itself from the mess is unlikely.
If the ugly sight of litter and the danger it creates to animals bothers you, Keep Chicago Beautiful is one group that concerned Chicagoans can contact. Concerned citizens can learn more about how they can, “Clean up the neighborhood and then maintain a litter-free environment with individual and group efforts and community education.”
If each of us in Chicago followed Max A Pooch’s lead and picked up just one piece of litter a day, the reduction of unsightly pieces of litter waiting to maim, injure or kill an unsuspecting animal would be in the millions. Plus, think how much prettier our City would be.