Letters to the Editor

Litter hurts

March 19, 2010


To the editor:

As I take my evening walk, I often make an effort to pick up the litter as I go. Recently there has been so much that I’ve begun carrying a bag with me. There is litter in the gutters, our yards, the trees, on the path, in the air and in the creek. Recently, I walked less than half of a mile before my trash bag was completely full! Does anyone else see this as a concern?

There are two truths about litter. The first is that litter looks bad. It negatively impacts the image of a place especially for visitors. The second is that litter attracts litter. It sends out a message that people do not care for the environment and that it is acceptable to litter.

Both are intolerable to me as a parent, teacher and member of this community. Instead of getting mad I’ve made the choice to work with the children I teach daily and my family and friends to motivate them to clean up the litter. How will this manifest into action? I’m not sure yet. But I know that it will make a difference in their lives and the lives of everyone living here.

Lastly, I implore all of you to take the time to stop and collect some litter. Take it home with you or find a trash can to put it in. Imagine how beautiful our community will be. So get out there and pick it up!


LadyJ 7 years, 11 months ago

Ironic, as I'm reading this I finally got to wondering what that loud city truck had been doing for quite some time in the street outside my house. I look out the window and see a city trash truck sitting and a worker running around with bag picking up trash.

kamr 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm thrilled to hear of the city workers running after the trash. We are dependant on their service. Can't we make their job easier?
My hubby saw a Deffenbaugh recycling truck pick up our neighbor's materials yesterday and watched as they let loose a ton of litter in the air! They didn't go after it.
WAY to GO city wrokers we thank you for caring!!!

kamr 7 years, 11 months ago

Consider the "bar raised!". Thanks for posting this. I'll use the info the next time I talk to the guys that mow over the litter in the field and leave the chopped up mess everywhere!

jehovah_bob 7 years, 11 months ago

And somewhere in the world Iron Eyes Cody sheds a tear.

kamr 7 years, 11 months ago

What happened to all the public awareness campain efforts? I grew up on "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute!"

Stuart Evans 7 years, 11 months ago

littering definitely sucks. Throw your trash on the floorboard of your car and toss it out next time you fill up your tank or go to the carwash.

and it's not just the cups, papers & bottles. smokers are some of the worst possible offenders. tossing your butts out wherever it suits you is disgusting. The area around my apartment mailbox is littered with hundreds, if not thousands, of butts. next time you go outside, look on the ground, and you will most likely find at least half a dozen cig. butts.

trinity 7 years, 11 months ago

and also areunorml, throwing a lit ciggie butt out the car window can absolutely set dry grass or even a big ol' hay bale on fire. it just makes me sooooooo angry when i see somebody chuck a sack of fast food trash out the window of a car flying down the road!!!! grrrrr...what slobs.

feeble 7 years, 11 months ago

it's even worse when they chuck those little plastic sauce containers, full of ranch or ketchup or bbq sauce, out the window on highway. Doing so should be a felony.

There is also some evidence that litter leads to increased crime: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0262-4079(08)62997-8

olmsted78 7 years, 11 months ago

Smokers, deal with holding that smelly tobacco stick until you can throw it into an ashtray or garbage can .....there's one nearby, even if you can't see it yet. That is the price you should pay for that generally pointless habit. I have some experience in this, unfortunately. Those filters do not breakdown quickly. If you're not already near an ashtray just take a second to bend over, step on the remaining "white" portion of the smoke, rip the filter from the tobacco wrap and throw that filter into some type of trash container, and repeat. If you are too lazy to do this, then you should be deemed too lazy to smoke.....fined, and forced to pick up old butts off the street.

People who litter other "waste" absolutely blow my mind. I could go on and on as most could. Again, fined and forced to pick up trash off of our roads.

Just stop. Stop doing that. Go get some help.

kamr 7 years, 11 months ago

Smokers who now treat outdoor spaces as public ashtrays may reconsider their behavior when they learn that cigarette butts are made of plastic, not of cotton and paper; and worse, that cigarette butts contain chemicals that can kill some of the animals that occupy critical positions in aquatic communities. It is important that smokers' littering behavior be modified to decrease this source of pollution. Enough is enough!!!!

Stuart Evans 7 years, 11 months ago

perhaps a butt exchange program. turn in 20 butts, get a $0.50 discount on your next pack. or something along those lines. like the old soda bottle deposit.

ku12345 7 years, 11 months ago

obviously getting on a blog and ranting about smokers and people who litter isn't going to solve a problem. If you want something fixed then get up and go try to fix it. All of you are complaining and very few of you are actually going out and cleaning up.

lily 7 years, 11 months ago

I was not happy when I saw 2 of the St. Patrick's Day Parade workers driving around in their carts tossing their cigarettes out. Neither paid attention where they threw it and one landed at a kid's feet. What an example. "It's just a cigarette" doesn't mean it isn't litter.

People toss things too casually.

kamr 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree. Everyone should take responsibility and clean it up! Are you taking the time to pick it up? Or are you just walking over it?

olmsted78 7 years, 11 months ago

Many clean it up. This obviously is only part of the solution. Many also rant, joke and generally comment on threads/blogs. A topic has been presented and we are just obviously commenting on it. Of course, writing or ranting about litter isn't going to directly fix it. It does however remain a distinct possibility that discussion can sometimes be a means to action.

kristyj 7 years, 11 months ago

i had to clean up a half-eaten shrimp cocktail out of my lawn last week. who walks around a residential neighborhood eating shrimp?

Calliope877 7 years, 11 months ago

I can honestly say as a smoker, I don't toss my butts out the window while driving. I always pack my ashtray full, then empty its contents into a bag, then throw it in the dumpster. It takes very little time or effort to do so. Oddly enough, a lot of people who get into my car don't know I smoke...Yankee Car Jars are awesome!

JHawker 7 years, 11 months ago

I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Rettig's Letter to the Editor. We as a community need to value nature and not disrespect it with littering. As a student, I walk all over KU's campus and see cigarette butts all over the grass and sidewalks and know for a fact that a student need simply to walk 20 steps in any direction to throw it away. I once was driving behind someone near Runza and saw them toss out fast food bag full of trash onto the street, I was flabbergasted. I honestly wondered at the time what number I could call to report them, I was seething. I applaud Ms. Rettig's efforts to teach our community's children, thank you.

PAWPAW 7 years, 11 months ago

The amount of waste we generate (not the resulting "litter") is the problem. Teaching the community's children (and adults) to pick up litter and hide it in landfills only gives half of the story...

So in addition to doing litter pick-ups, have them keep all their own trash for a week (or month, etc.). At the end of the week separate it into reusables, recyclables, unusable waste, and compost (if you really want to drive the point home:). Maybe even do an exercise where you trace the materials back to where they came from (like a forest), followed by a lesson on how to use less...

That might be a step towards cutting litter off at the source!! maybe...

Matthew Herbert 7 years, 11 months ago

I used to live right by the Dirty Bird........I made a 2nd income cashing in recycled beer cans that were thrown in my yard. I would LOVE to see the LPD set up a drunk driving checkpoint at 8th and Locust. The amount of open container citations would surprise most in this town.

kamr 7 years, 11 months ago

Here Here! Lets collect and recycle the trash but ultimately lets pay attention to our own footprint on the Earth. She's very powerful you know!!!!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.