The RSPCA get over 5000 calls a year about wild animals who have been injured by, ingested or become trapped by litter. And that's just those they hear about.
Our pets are at risk too - dogs love to eat things they shouldn't, paws get cut on broken glass - we've even heard of cats ingesting cigarette filters and having to undergo surgery to get them removed.
Whichever way you look at it, a littered environment isn't good for wildlife.
Litter take ages to decompose:
Cigarette butts - 18 months to 10 years
Plastic bags - 10 to 20 years
Plastic bottles - 450 years
Aluminium cans - 200 - 500 years
Chewing gum - NEVER
Litter is filling our oceans and ruining our beaches. Recent studies found up to 3,000 pieces of litter for every kilometre of beach in the UK.
Around 80 percent of marine litter originates on land, most of which is plastic.
Seabirds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life are eating marine plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal blockage and starvation. Scientists are investigating the long-term impacts of toxic pollutants absorbed, transported, and consumed by fish and other marine life, including the potential effects on human health.
Sources: The Marine Conservation Society, NRDC.org
Every year, the Highways Agency clears some 180,000 sacks of litter from motorways and A roads.
It's estimated that, every year, road traffic accidents worth £8m are caused by litter. £5m worth of punctures happen because of litter too.
Source: Eunomia 2014
And if that wasn't enough to convince you:
Litter levels have increased 500% in the last 50 years and 2.25m pieces are dropped every day in the UK.
It costs £1 billion a year to clear - just think how else that money could be used. Charities, homelessness, mental health, local community improvements, the NHS....
It hits us around Hitchin - our main roads (like the A602 to Stevenage) cost £38,000 to litter pick every year and we estimate that in central Hitchin at least £50,000 is spent a year on dealing with litter.
Research has proved that, if litter is allowed to build up, communities suffer. Graffiti gets worse, people feel less safe, crime is more likely to rise.
Nor is litter good for our mental health - spending time in spaces which are littered is never going to make us feel more positive, healthy and happy about where we live and work.
And all of this is preventable by doing a simple thing....