Let us for the moment forget that there are laws against littering and let’s just talk about the ordinary, everyday incivility of it. Notwithstanding the fact that I still need to drop quite a few pounds, I do walk between 3-5 days a week. We live in a nice neighborhood and it is bordered by busy streets on three sides. We also have four schools within close proximity. Our neighborhood association has responsive crews that pick up litter along these bordering streets as well as do the maintenance on the common grounds. However, the fact that they pick up litter in addition to performing landscape care doesn’t mean that there should be litter to be picked up. Oh sure, items here and there get loose and blow about. Juice boxes, plastic glasses, empty fast food bags, beer bottles tossed onto the sidewalk or in the grass are not occasional items – sadly, they are something that I see every time. When we look around and ask where our civility has gone, this is yet another incredibly simple thing that we can control, something we can emphasize to our children. I agree that if you don’t see your child litter, then you may never know, but hey, that’s one of the easiest subjects to talk to your kids about. We see it all around and it is something you can point out.
Again, just as with my post about returning shopping carts, we do have far larger problems in today’s world than litter. On the other hand, no one other than the person who litters is responsible for that action – it is a conscious choice born of disregard for our surroundings. I agree that trash cans aren’t always convenient, but that’s really a pretty thin excuse. If you are in a situation where you can talk to kids about this, or chastise an adult if you know one with this terrible habit, then please do so. It may be a small thing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important.