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augustlan's avatar

What is the litter situation like in your area?

Asked by augustlan (46609 points ) February 23rd, 2012

Do you notice a lot of trash hanging around where it doesn’t belong, or only a little? Does your local government employ street cleaners and/or trash pickers? What are the consequences of littering in your locale?

Street-cleaning machines are commonly used here (West Virginia and Maryland), and people convicted of minor crimes often pick up trash for their community service sentences. In Maryland the fine for littering on the highway is $1000.00 and a point on your license. Is that a normal kind of consequence, or is it pretty severe?

I drive 120 miles (round trip) at least twice a week, through 2 states, on a combination of several highways, main streets, and back streets. The trashiest street I see is the one I live on, unfortunately. It’s the ‘main street’ through my town, and trash is always blowing into my front yard! The rest of my trip is remarkably litter-free. Not counting my own street, I very rarely see more than three pieces of trash on my whole trip. A soda bottle, a plastic bag, a piece of newspaper. Hardly ever see a cigarette butt. Most of the roads are scenic and almost spotless. Is it like that everywhere?

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24 Answers

tom_g's avatar

The last town I lived in seemed to have tons of trash. Every morning, I would see pickup trucks throwing trash and cigarettes out the window. Some of these trucks actually had the name of their business on it (Sulley’s Plumbing). Every year, some of the sane people in town would organize an annual cleanup week. You could sign up to take a street or two that you will clean. After a long day of cleaning up people’s trash, it was difficult not to have a negative opinion about people.

My current town is a whole different scene. It’s clean. Nobody throws trash out of their cars. Downtown has a bunch of solar powered trash and recycling bins.

It seems to me to be a cultural thing, although I could be wrong. Do people not throw trash out of their windows in my current town because they are afraid of some fine for littering, or is it that it would never occur to them? I suspect the latter.

jca's avatar

I live in a rural area, and there’s not a whole lot of litter on the country roads around here. Once in a while I’ll see a bag, like a garbage bag that seems to have been dumped off a truck (or fell off a truck), and once in a while, there may be a beer bottle or coffee cup by the side of the road, but not often.

flutherother's avatar

The streets here aren’t bad as the local authority cleans up on a regular basis. There are trees nearby decorated with multicoloured polythene bags that have blown there in the wind. No one is going to remove these but the spring leaves will hide them I hope. You can be fined here for dropping litter but this is rarely or never enforced. If a policeman saw someone drop litter he might ask them to pick it up. In the countryside you might see the occasional bottle, or can or polythene bag lying in the verge. Nothing too serious.

dabbler's avatar

Many areas of NYC have a “Business Improvement District” that will hire folks to police the area, and they’re pretty effective.
The biggest problem we have locally is jerks walking their dogs and not picking up after them. Disgusting Unsanitary Uncivilized Illegal and all too common. Can’t they at least find the damn curb?!?

wilma's avatar

It’s pretty clean in my rural/small town area. There is a fine for littering, I’m not sure what it is. People clean beside roadways to fulfill community service sentences and also as a community service just because they are good citizens. We have an “adopt a road” thing here where you will see a sign along a road that says for example, TKE fraternity is keeping this roadway clean for you.

thorninmud's avatar

It used to be bad. I live on a suburban corner, and teens hanging out in their cars used to just toss stuff out the window onto the park strip.

Many years ago, though, our city started a program where any homeowner who requested it could have a nice public waste can installed on the park strip by their property, on the condition that the homeowner take care of emptying the can. We signed up (I don’t see many of the cans around the city, so I guess not too many people took the offer).

This did the trick. Miraculously, even the teens use it; I find all the beer bottles that used to end up on the park strip now in the can. Most of what ends up in the can—probably 90% of it—is little bags of dog poop. That can make for some smelly trash come emptying time, but I figure that anything I can do to make it easier for people to pick up after their dogs is worth it. Once a week I have to empty the can, which just involves pulling out the old bag, dropping it in my own trash cart and wheeling it to the curb for pickup. I do have to buy the trash bags.

I think this is a great program. It really solved the litter problem, and I get to feel like I’m providing a service for the neighborhood. Maybe you could bring up the possibility with your city admins.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Absolutely disgusting. F***ing pigs here in Upstate NY. If you see me in the police blotter that’s why.

zensky's avatar

It’s quite good actually. Can’t complain. We’re pretty big on recycling as a community.

cazzie's avatar

I live in a clean, small suburb now, but a year ago or so I lived in the city and it was disgusting. It is a University town, so there are spudents peeing, vomiting and leaving their late night garbage everywhere. It gets really bad in May, when the snow melts and all the trash that has been hidden by snow suddenly surfaces and it is added to by the kids that are celebrating their Russ, or last month of exams at secondary school. They run around town in colour coded outfits and silly hats, getting drunk, pulling stunts and throwing rubbish everywhere. Of course, people here are too well educated and too good to lower themselves to such manual jobs such as picking up trash. They used to have teams of ‘special’ people headed by someone who has been sentence to Community Service, but I haven’t seem them in a very long time. Now there are Romanians begging on almost every street corner (just adds to the trashy look of the city.)

My son and I pick up the garbage that ends up on the trail we take up to the shopping center. It isn’t a lot, but enough to bug me a few times a year.

Coloma's avatar

My little mountainy tourist community is very clean. Infact, there is a local elderly couple than stroll the main highway down into the hub of our little community every day picking up any trash along the highway. I really appreciate their efforts and they are so cute, toddling along with their neon orange vests and safari hats. lol
Occasionally someone will dump a piece of furniture like a mattress alongside the road somewhere but it is never there for long.

I will also say that I was blown away when traveling in asia a few years ago. Taipei City Taiwan is a huge metropolis, as big as, or bigger than San Francisco and the city was immaculate. Every morning school children and other locals were busy sweeping the streets and sidewalks, many using hand made bamboo brooms, and it was truly amazing how clean that city was for harboring something like 6 million people.

My apartment was across the street from an elementary school and there were always 3–4 children sweeping the grounds every morning, must have been a rotating thing, but the kids kept their own school immaculate, no janitors to be seen. I was impressed!

Judi's avatar

In the last two months two cars have had metal projectiles fly through their windshields because of debris on hwy 99 which rund through our town. Luckily no one has been hurt oy killed (yet.)
One of the things I love about Europe is how clean the roads were. I don’t think I saw one open air pick-up, and you never saw shredded truck tires scattered all over the road. Coming home felt like stepping back in time.

Pandora's avatar

Pretty clean. The dirtiest place I ever lived was in the Bronx. They had street sweepers but they only came about maybe one day a week. I think the garbage overflow was actually due to the fact that garbage cans in the area would get filled and they never emptied them enough times.
But are pollution was also pretty bad. It seemed maybe once in the spring and again as school would start would be the times the city would clean up a bit. The worst was winter time. However I really haven’t been back there for some years, so I don’t know if things have gotten better.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Barely any. Out-of-towners often comment on how clean and green it is here.

Five blocks, say, two pieces litter.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mama_Cakes Canada rocks for the care they give the environment.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe You need to come and visit. :)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mama_Cakes You’re right. I haven’t been there in a while. Last time was Niagra Falls. Went from the American side to the Canadian side and couldn’t believe the difference. Thought I was in the Far Side.

AstroChuck's avatar

The part of Sacramento I live in is pretty clean. However I’ve delivered mail to areas in town when the trash in the yards in unbelievably bad.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Based on the crazy-ass wind from last night, not so good…

6rant6's avatar

Omigod, glad you asked. It’s everywhere! Especially near the litter box.

And don’t get me started on the fur.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I live just outside of the DFW area of TX (that is Dallas & Fort Worth). Dallas is terribly trashy & Fort Worth runs it a close second, but downtown Fort Worth is much cleaner than downtown Dallas is….. too many people in Dallas just do not seem to care.

YARNLADY's avatar

Our small incorporated city has excellent services, but outside the city limits, you can see the trash building up as the county and other incorporated cities in the area are cutting back on services. Some have now cut back to the point you have to call in a complaint before they will clean up. Our city still sends out street cleaners that sweep up all the debris in the gutters and leaves the street smelling fresh and clean.

mattbrowne's avatar

Very clean were we live. The most unclean country in Europe in terms of litter we visited was Greece.

Nullo's avatar

Pretty good. I’ll find bits of trash in my lawn sometimes, likely blown in from elsewhere. And now and then you might find a crushed beer can in the road. It’s worse down by our local bit of Route 66, but not by much.
Of course, I’m using Tijuana’s ankle-deep gutter garbage as a baseline.

@mattbrowne I noticed that, at least in the Eurozone GMT+1, typically, the farther south you go the dirtier it gets. Austria down through about Emilia-Romagna you wouldn’t see any litter. Central Italy would have some light littering, and the area around Naples was rather dirty indeed.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Nullo – Italy has greatly improved over the past 20 years including the South. Last time we visited Apulia it was pretty clean. The Naples region seems to an exception. Lots of strikes there too so garbage doesn’t get removed. Spain became quite clean too including Andalusia.

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