Littering is a Persistent Problem Across the Globe

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Research question: To what extent do the attitudes of residents in Ikageng contribute towards the amount of littering?
  3. Methods

Littering is a major environmental concern in many parts of the globe, it is the subject of many studies, yet the problem persists. This paper seeks to delve into the attitudes that cause residents of Extension 11 in Ikageng to engage in littering behavior. This paper shows that residents in Ikageng have a positive attitude towards littering and this contributes greatly to the degree of litter in their community.


According to DEA (2012), South Africa generated roughly 108 million tonnes of waste in 2011 and only 10 percent of that waste was recycled. Littering can be defined as the incorrect disposal of waste (Hansmann & Scholz, 2003). Examples of this waste include plastic bags, papers as well as containers of various materials. The most visible impact of littering is that it reduces the visual appeal of the streets and it can lead to other environmental problems such as pollution of water sources as well as endanger animals and contribute to health issues for human beings (Abu-Hilal & Al-Najjar, 2009).

Solid waste management is one of the most fundamental challenges facing local communities in South Africa and the government’s response to this is still evolving, with the implementation of programs such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which is an effort to clean litter from the streets (Le Roux & Pali, 2018). Despite this program and many others, littering still persists, even though numerous studies have been conducted to try and solve this problem (Cardinalli,2001). Some of the reasons why littering still persists may be due to a lack of environmental education and awareness as well as inadequate service delivery (Poswa, 2001). Problems in service delivery in townships has had a negative impact on residents’ attitudes towards correctly disposing of their waste and many resort to utilizing illegal dumping sites and littering (Garg & Mashilwane, 2015).

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Ikageng township, located in the North West province experiences similar service delivery problems faced by many townships. The township is greatly affected by litter and illegal dumping sites, walking through the township, copious amounts of litter can be seen strewn in the streets. There are a number of factors that contribute to one’s attitude and behavior regarding littering, these include level of environmental awareness and education (Naidoo, 2009). Environmental psychology theories also show that there is a link between how a person’s attitudes inform their behavior with regards to littering (Azjen, 1991; Festinger et al, 1954 ; Leijdekkers et al ).The purpose of this research is to investigate the attitudes and behaviors that residents of Ikageng have towards littering, and how their attitudes and behaviors contribute to pollution in their community.

Research question: To what extent do the attitudes of residents in Ikageng contribute towards the amount of littering?

The aim of this research is to establish the attitudes that residents of Ikageng have towards littering and how these attitudes contribute to the extent of littering in their community. This aim will be achieved through the following objectives:

  1. To determine the nature of littering in Ikageng Extension 11.
  2. To determine the resident’s attitudes towards littering.
  3. To assess the influence that the level of environmental awareness has on attitudes regarding littering among residents in Ikageng Extension 11.


This study utilizes a mixed-method research design. The sampling technique that is employed is nonprobability sampling, specifically convenience sampling, this method is utilized due to samples being selected because they are easily available to the researcher (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). A sample size of 30 participants was chosen which includes an equal distribution of male and female participants, between the ages of 15-65 years. The methodology is as follows:

  1. Researchers are to determine the nature and extent of litter in Extension 11 through direct observations of the type of litter and how much of it is present in the area.
  2. The level of environmental awareness will be assessed by the researchers by conducting and administering questionnaires and semi-structured interviews.
  3. The researchers will determine what the resident’s attitudes and behaviors towards littering are by administering a questionnaire.

The data collection process was based on information collected using a questionnaire created by the researchers which was informed by various literature sources (Garg & Mashilwane, 2015; Keep America Beautiful, 2009). The questionnaire was submitted to male and female residents of Extension 11, between the ages of 15-65 years.

The structure of the questionnaires is dived into four sections with a total of 18 questions, the first section deals with biographical questions which include information about age, sex, and the highest level of education. Section two deals with the nature and extent of littering and the profile of litterers in the community. The third section deals with questions related to attitudes and behaviors of residents towards littering and the final section contain questions relating environmental awareness and there is additional space for comments from residents.

The researchers administered all tests in the local language of the residents which was Setswana. Translations were done as accurately as possible to retain the original meaning of the questions. A sample size of 30 participants was required for this study thus far, the data of 13 participants has been gathered, with 8 participants being male and 5 being female. Based on the data collected, all conclusions are to be regarded as preliminary.

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