Pick-A-Day

November 2019
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Litter

There’s so much I could be talking about, but I figure that the political junkies have more legitimate sources for their fix. Instead I am going to talk about littering.

Trashy ArmeniaIt came up after I saw an article on USAToday (via Obscure Store) talking about litter. It seems that concern about litter in the states is getting smaller and smaller, even focusing on cigarette butts – something I am quite thrilled to hear. To top it off, states are starting hotlines so that witnesses can call and report the assholes that drop their cigarette butts, used diapers, or empty Pepsi cans.

Iowa has raised its fine for littering to US$70, and that state that the CQ loves to hate, Virginia, has a proposal before its state senate to raise the minimum fine for littering to $750!

All of this made me reflect about the place I live and the place that I visited.

Germany, I am happy to report, does not have a litter problem, and what litter does exist in urban areas seems to be cleaned regularly. Yesterday I watched somebody clean my local train station, venturing into the grass to pick up the litter that had blown out of the small trash can.

When I took my hike along the train tracks west of Weimar I was aware of the litter. I’d picked up lunch to eat along the way, and after my lunch I put my trash in my backpack and took it with me all the way home. I noticed after I packed away my trash that there was a small amount of litter along this country road. I thought about picking up the random trash I encountered, but I didn’t have a bag to put the trash in, and I didn’t feel like putting muddy trash directly into my backpack.

In the RiverI couldn’t help but think about Armenia. In fact, at my first stop in Armenia, for Khoravadz, there was a horribly large pile of empty plastic bottles in the pond. Later, in Kapan, I watched plastic bottles bob in the water along the rivers. When riding with my taxi driver to the monasteries, the driver, upon finishing a pack of cigarettes, threw the empty pack out the window. Finally, I found that the river in Vanadzor was the dumping ground for an old truck, and there was evidence that in the past, people used to change their oil directly over the same river.

For awhile, whilst in Armenia, I wondered about the littering problem. I wholly approve of the culture in the US and Germany that discourages littering, even, in some cases, to the point where people litter are often ostracized. The litter in Armenia was a blight on the landscape and made some of the views unnecessarily ugly.

Anybody remember this blast from the past?

4 comments to Litter

  • Ed

    My property is at the intersection of two roads. Before mowing I always have to pick up all the bottles and cans and McDonalds sacks and Walmart bags. Everybody who throws things out of their cars would complain if it was their yard. What happened to the golden rule?

  • Ed, that really sucks… I get really annoyed at people who are too lazy to carry their trash to a legitimate trash can.

  • Anonymous

    When I was growing up in Texas, highway and roadside litter were extremely common. I can honestly say that this has greatly improved in subsequent years. Either Texans have become more environmentally conscious or the prison labour that sometimes does trash duty has become more effective. 🙁

  • I think people are becoming better about not throwing trash by the side of the highway, plus the community groups that volunteer to pick up trash have made a huge difference.

    As for the prision labor–it seemst to me that using prisioners to pick up roadside trash is a whole lot better than using prision labor to turn a profit on manufactured goods or make telemarketing calls. This is something that enhances community values and helps prisioners make a positive difference in the community as opposed to corporate bottom lines.