Thursday, November 15, 2007

We're, uh, number one.

According to the Washington Post, the area around 14th a U is one of the most heavily littered in the city, vying only with H Street NE and Martin Luther King Blvd. in SE. It's an expensive problem too about a third or more of DPW's $75 million solid waste budget goes toward cleaning up street and alley litter. If folks could simply place their litter in trash cans, DC would save a bundle.

Based on a NJ study, it is believed that adolescents and young adults are the biggest litter bugs. To counter the mentality, DPW has run TV and radio ads to convince young folks from ages six to 24 to "show DC some love" by picking up trash. The logic behind the campaign is to change a "culture of litter" as the most cost-effective way of battling the trash issue. I gotta wonder is it really a culture of litter that we need to battle or a culture lacking respect? I don't think that the eight-year-old who slapped me while riding past on his bike is going to turn around and show DC some love any time soon. Nor do I think that the constantly littered block 1400 block of R Street is going to solve their garbage issues before getting a handle on drug dealing and car theft.

Apparently volunteer campaigns are good but can't attack the volume of the year-round problem. I have to believe though that they set a good, if limited, example of positive behavior. I would also like to see some "volunteers" from McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Kazanchis cleaning up the messes outside their storefronts . . . All of this reminds me, the monthly Shaw clean-up will be held on Saturday morning at 9. Those interested should meet in front of Azi's at 9th and O. We'll do what we can to "develop a community that will help us keep the streets cleaner," as Nancee Lyons of DPW said.


Shaw Rez said...

I don't get people who carelessly throw their trash on the ground. I get vocal when I see someone do it. I pick up litter up and down my block somewhat regularly; I think it helps to show litter-ers and would-be-litterers that neighbors care and don't appreciate people disrespecting the area.

La Petite Princess said...

This is a great post. It IS a culture that lacks respect that needs to be changed. It boggles my mind that people want to throw trash in the same area where they actually hang out.

I happen to live on the 1400 block of R Street and you can thank some of the neighbors in my building for cleaning up other people's trash on our side of the street. They wait until they really can't stand it anymore and then do a sweep down the whole block.

One of our neighbors called the DC goverment requesting the installation of trash cans on this block and they were basically advised not to proceed with the request. The reason being - tenants on the block would use those trashcans instead of designated dumpsters for each building to dump their household trash and instead of having to step over McDonald's whopper boxes and empty liquor bottles, we'd be wading through trashbags to get out of our buildings. (Plus, with the efficiency of the DC Government, they tell you it can take up to 9 months to actually get the trashcans installed.)

Sorry for the rant, but thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the NJ study, and about the culture of disrespect. My block near several churches is always most littered after the Church goers' drive away on Sunday afternoon. From what I have seen, it is mostly their kids, who walk to the corner store during service, and then throw all their trash where ever they happen to be standing when they finish their drinks and snacks.

I remember one day when I saw this kid who was no older than 10 throw his bottle on the ground. I asked him if he does that in his own yard, and asked him to pick it up and throw it in a trash can. He said there ain't no trash can. After I told him there's several in his Church, he picked it up, looked at it, mumbled something like, "F&*$ that", threw it right back down on the ground, and walked away. I knew instantly that young man had a bright future in front of him.

Golden Silence said...

Late response:

A few years ago, I was waiting at King Street Station, and this group of rough-acting folk were hanging about acting loud and stupid. There was a little boy with him. He threw his trash on the ground.

"Pick that up!" I yelled. "Just because your family doesn't know how to act doesn't mean you need to act like that!"

He acted like he was going to throw it out, but thought he was being slick and threw it on the ground again. I was firm.

"I said, 'Pick that up!'" I said again. He finally listened.

I tried this with another group of bad kids who were littering, but they ignored me and did that "Hawh?! Hawh?!" mess, pretending they couldn't hear me.

With people lacking morals and respect raising these kids, it's no wonder they're turning out the way they are.

Anonymous said...

I was standing at the busy intersection of 13th and U Streets, NW, waiting for the crosswalk to clear. There are trash-cans installed at that instersection; still the 30-something aged woman standing next to me dropped something deliberately on the sidewalk. Without skipping a beat I reached down and picked up that litter and put it in my pocket. It was a candy wrapper or receipt or something.

I could tell by the way she dropped it that it was deliberate littering. She could tell by my quick response that I was deliberatly picking up her litter. She didn't say anything, but I know she noticed. I hope she was embarrassed.