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Blog: Pam's Pennypinching With STYLE

The Fight Against LITTER!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Do you remember when they had campaigns against litter - and people were called "litter bugs," and they actually gave out tickets for it?  Somehow the people behind that must have collapsed from exhaustion, because I don't see ANYONE addressing that as a problem, when it's actually getting worse where I am.

Los Angeles can be a pretty city to walk in, especially in my old Hollywood neighborhood with its trees and grass and flowers, except there is litter everywhere.  Wrappers, cups, newspapers, plastic bags and bits and pieces of all sorts of stuff litter the strips of grass and sidewalk nearest to the street, and the edges of the lawns, just destroying their charm!  I live across from a school, and the children seem to be learning just to drop their litter on the ground.  They don't even aim for the street where it will be swept up during street cleaning.

One problem is that there aren't any public wastepaper baskets!  Vendors and children and fast food joints around the corner and no wastepaper baskets!  A principal at the school once told me when I inquired that they had to get a grant to get a trash basket!  Can you imagine? And when I talked to my local council person's office, they suggested that I get the Neighborhood Association to fund one!  A trash basket??? Don't we deserve THAT?

So as I walked home from the local coffee shop, there I was kicking all sorts of litter into the street because at least that's SOMETHING! I also found a plastic bucket once used for soy sauce in the trash behind the Chinese restaurant in the parking lot.  Perfectly good bucket. 

So I brought it home and washed it out with the garden hose and put it in the driveway/alley to serve as a trash bin.  We have had new tenants move in, and it may or may not be related, but the trash level in the drive has gone up.  Perhaps the can will train them to put their litter in THAT.  I did it once before and I worked - so I am back at it again.  And I can pick up pieces of paper and just put them in the bucket until it gets full enough to take in the back to the main trash bin.

The good thing about the recycled bucket is (1) it's free and (2) because of that, I won't worry about it being stolen or just "walking."

Don't get the idea that I am such an awfully fastidious person!  I think litter offends me because it's just so UGLY.  I don't mind a muddle if it's artistic somehow.  There is also the broken windows theory that suggests that neglect in small areas like that is an indicator of the level of concern of the populace and by addressing issues like graffiti and litter, the better part of the neighborhood can assert itself over the slovenly part.  They say that even has an effect on crime rates subliminally!

So gather that litter.  Don't throw things out car windows.  Put fast food wrappers in the trash tidily.  And please teach your children the same.  (My friend from the suburbs said that it looked like the littered streets of Eastern Europe.  Isn't that embarrassing? )  Clean up your act, America!




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