All About Animals: Primary Teachers: Debate of the Day—Litter!

How does this fit into the curriculum? Pupils should be taught to express their own views about places and environments (1c) and to recognise how the environment may be sustained and improved (5b).

Teachers’ Note: Read the passage to the class and use the questions at the end to steer the discussion about litter. Feel free to add in your own lines of enquiry!


How do you feel about litter? Does it bother you at all? Maybe you’re the kind of person that doesn’t care about litter on the ground, but maybe you’d care more if you knew how litter could hurt and kill animals.

For example, small animals can get stuck inside cans or cut themselves on the sharp edges. Broken glass is a danger to humans and animals. A dog exploring in the bushes or a badger going about her business may get a nasty cut if someone has left a smashed bottle there.

The plastic ties that keep drink cans together may get caught around the beaks of water birds such as ducks and swans. If they aren’t removed, birds can starve to death.

Discarded fishing line can kill any bird or animal becoming entangled in it.

Lots of products we use in our homes and gardens can be poisonous to animals. A paint tin thrown on the ground or an emptied out bottle of bleach can kill animals, birds, fish and plants.


1. How do you feel about litter?
2. Did you know it could be so harmful to animals?
3. Should we care about the animals who share this planet with us?
4. How can picking up litter help animals?
5. What can we do about litter?
6. What can YOU do about litter?