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.