Pathological analysis of environmental pollution with emphasizing on littering in university campus (case study: students of Mazandaran University)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Social Science, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran

2 Psychology, Faculty of Human Sciences, Azad University, Ayatollah Amoli, Amol, Iran


Social order has high importance in every society. Disturbance in a social order will have a lot of costs for society. Littering is an example of citizens’ social disorder in the field of environmental citizenship that is transformed as a social problem in our society. The purpose of this research was the pathological analysis of student’s social order with emphasizing on littering. Littering became a serious problem in all environments in our society. This problem in a university, as an educational and cultural environment, is indecent and needs to be assessed.
Material and methods:
The study was conducted by a survey. The statistical population was all the students of Mazandaran University in the 95-96 educational semester. The sample size was 384 individuals and was collected by categorized sampling. Data were collected by questionnaire and analyzed by SPSS Amos software. Littering was the dependent variable, consisting of throwing paper, gum, and plastic. Independent variables were taken from the theory of social learning.
Results and discussion:
In this research, the theory of social learning was used as a theoretical framework to assess various reasons for littering in different environments. In this theory, every behavior is a result of learning in different environments. Of all respondents, 55.8 percent were women and 44.2 percent were men with an average age of 24. Littering among students was classified as medium. The results of the Pearson correlation showed that there was a significant relationship between littering as an indicator of social disorder with the observation of others’ littering, weak formal and informal control, imitation, and positive definition of littering. Also, path analysis showed that these variables can explain 28% of the variations in the dependent variable (littering). In multiple variable analysis, the positive definition of littering had a direct and positive effect on littering. The other variables had indirect effect on littering.
Essentially, littering is an important problem that we encounter in many environments. Nowadays, litter accumulates in rivers and city environments such as universities. The academic culture of universities requires academic persons in different fields to obey the social order. Therefore, the process of learning social order seems necessary.


  1. Akers, R.L and Jensen, G.F., 2006. The empirical status of social learning theory of crime and deviance: The past, present, and future". In F. T. Cullen, J. P. Wright, & K. R. Blevins (Eds.), Taking Stock: The Status of Criminological Theory . 15, 37-76.
  2. Akers, R.L. and Sellers, C.S., 2004. Criminological theories: Introduction, evaluation, and application (4th ed). Los Angeles: Roxbury publication.USA.
  3. Arafat, H.A., Al-Kathhib, I.A., Daoud, R. and Shwahneh, H., 2007. Influence of socio-economic factors on street litter generation in the Middle East: effects of education level, age, and type of residence. Journal of Waste Management & research. 25, 363–370.
  4. Armitage, N. and Rooseboom, A., 2000. The removal of urban litter from storm water conduits and streams: paper 1ـ the quantities involved and catchment litter management options. Journal of Water SA. 26, 181–188.
  5. Bandura, A., 1997. Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 50(2), 248-287.
  6. Cadena, C.E., Manjarrez, P.L., Izquierdo, I.E. and Gallegos, E.R., 2012. An approach to litter generation and littering practices in a Mexico City Neighborhood. Sustainability. 4, 1733-1754.
  7. Cecilia, E., Cadena, M., Lina-Manjarrez, P., Izquierdo, E.S. and Gallegos, C., 2012. An Approach to Litter Generation and Littering Practices in a Mexico City Neighborhood, Sustainability.4,1733-1754.
  8. Chalabi, M.O., 1996. Sociology of order. Naie Publication, Tehran.
  9. Cohen, P., 2002. Modern Social Theory, Translated by Yousef Naraghi. Enteshar publication. Tehran.
  10. Defra, A., 2012. LitterـOrganizing a cleanup. Keep Britain Tidy. Available online at:
  11. Ellickson, R.C., 1996. Controlling Chronic Misconduct in City Spaces: Of Panhandlers, Skid Roads and Public Space Zoning; Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository. Faculty Scholarship Series Paper 408; Yale Law School: New Haven, USA.
  12. Eskandari, M ., Bidhendi, L ., Kalantari, H. and Meri, M., 2007. Analysis and Research of spatial dependencies of Littering production in Tehran, Quarterly Journal of Waste Management. 8,371-383.
  13. Fayaz, M., 2013. Environment Newsletter. Iran Environment News Site. Available online at:
  14. Finnie, W.C., 1973. Field experiments in litter control. Environment and Behavior. 5, 123-144.
  15. Firozjaeyan, A.A and Saadati, Z, 2016. Littering as social disorder (examination of broken window theory). journal of Security and social order strategic studies. 6,17-32. (In Persian with English abstract).
  16. Firozjaeyan, A. A. and Gholamrezazade, F., (2016). The analysis of effective factors on social disorder(with emphasis on littering). journal of Applied Sociology.7,95-112. (In Persian with English abstract).
  17. Furusa, R., 2015. Literature review on littering: A study of exploring littering behavior and identifying strategies to curb littering,www., accessed data:26/April/2019.
  18. Geller, E. S. Winett, R. A. and Everett, P. B., 1982. Preserving the environment: New Strategies for behavior change. Elmsford, NY: Pergamum.
  19. Gholamrezazade, F., 2014. Sociological analysis of littering behavior among tourists. , Master's thesis of social science, University of Mazandaran.Babolsar.Iran .
  20. Green, C.A., 2001. The effect of prior litter on sewing class students` clean-up behavior. http://www.clearinghouse. missouriwestern. edu/ de fault.asp. Curled from the Internet on 14th Dec, 2007.
  21. Kayhanian, M., Stransky, C., Bay, S., Lau, S.L. and Stenstorm, M.K., 2008. Toxicity of urban highway runoff with respect to storm duration. Sci. Total Environ. 38,386–406. (In Persian with English abstract).
  22. Keenan, M., 1996. The A, B, C of Litter Control. Irish Journal of Psychology. 17, 327–339.
  23. Keizer, K., Lindenberg, S., and Steg, L., 2008. The spreading of disorder. Science, 322, 1681-1685.
  24. McCain, M., 2009. Theories of Criminology, Translated by Hamid Reza Malek Mohammadi..Mizan Publication. Tehran.Iran.
  25. Muro, M. Jeffrey, P., 2008. A Critical Review of the Theory and Application of Social Learning in Participatory Natural Resource Management Processes. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 51, 325-344.
  26. Norrgren, L. and Swahnberg,H., 2016. Investigating Prosocial Behavior: A Case Study of Littering in Laos, Master thesis, Linkoping University.
  27. Oluyinka, o., and Balogun, S. K., 2011. Psycho-sociocultural Analysis of Attitude towards Littering in a Nigerian Urban City. Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management . 4 , 68-80.
  28. Omrani, G., 2007. Principles and Foundations of Sustainable Strategy in Waste Management in Iran, Third National Conference on Waste Management.8,63-72.
  29. Schultz, P.W., Bator, R.J., Large, L.B., Bruni, C.M., and Tabanico, J.J., 2013. Littering in context: Personal and environment predictors of littering behavior. Environment and Behavior.45,35–59.
  30. Sedigh-Sarvestani, R., 2007. Social pathology: Deviances sociology (in Persian). Samt Publication. Tehran Iran.
  31. Shimazu, H., 2018. Littering behavior analysis based on survey and questionnaire about littering in the Nagase River, International Journal of Geomate.14 , 95-101.
  32. Stacey; N. and Hye-Ryeon. L., 2006. Differential Associations and Daily Smoking of Adolescents: The Importance of Same-Sex Models. Youth & Society. 37, 453-478.
  33. Stodolska, M., and Floyd, M. F., 2016. Leisure, race, ethnicity, and immigration. Leisure matters: The state and future of leisure studies.5, 243-249.
  34. Srot,N., 2010. Social learning and waste management: A Tongatapu case study, Master thesis, Lund University. Sweden.
  35. Stokols, D. and Altman, I., 1987. Handbook of Environmental Psychology, John Wiley, NY .1(2).
  36. Torgler, B., Garcia-Valinas, M., & Macintyre, A., 2008. Justifiability of littering: An empirical investigation. (Working Paper No. 2008-8). Basil, Switzerland: Center for Research in Economics, Management, and the Arts.
  37. Torky, N., 2017. Changing Littering Behavior among University Students in Egypt: Integration of Community Readiness and Community-Based Social Marketing, Master thesis, The Center for Sustainable Development, The American University,Cairo.
  38. Wever, R, Gutter,N and Silver,N., 2006. Prevention of littering through packaging design: A support for concept generation, Proceedings of TMCE, April 18–22, 2006, Ljubljana, Slovenia.