Arrrh, the litter!

By LJ LaValle
LJ LaValle
LJ LaValle
LJ LaValle first began studying health and nutrition after confronting a health challenge back in the mid nineties in which later led to a passion in organic and natural living. After making a profound lifestyle change, LJ lost over 60 pounds and discovered many natural ways to live a healthy and wholesome life. Currently living in Brooklyn, LJ LaValle is founder of “LJLaValle.com” which caters to sharing ways to live an organic and healthy lifestyle.
May 16, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

 

Yes, we have a very big litter problem here in the US, especially in the big cities.

 

As I was waiting for the G train at the Nostrand Ave stop in Brooklyn, I was amazed by the

amount of litter on the subway tracks, which launched me into my “wonderment stage” on why

people litter.

 

Of course, it’s probably because of an uncaring attitude, but there has to be more to this.

 

This brings up a few more questions.

Do litterbugs have a miserable life?

Is this a learned behavior from upbringing?

Are the poor more likely to litter as opposed to the middle and upper class?

Do people convert from litterbugs, to more respectful citizens of the environment later

on in life?

 

Steve Spacek, the author of the “American State Litter scorecard” states, “Studies have consistently found that youths and young adults are the most prone, or willing, to litter.”

 

Eh, maybe, but I’ve seen quite a few older adults litter too.

 

Cha-ching

 

Besides the eyesore element, the costs of cleanup are a huge expense for New York City.

 

According to Kevin Ortiz, Deputy Director, External Communications

of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, he states that “We spend about $20M a year to clean the tracks. This figure does not include the capital expense of purchasing vacuum trains.”

 

Fire, fire

 

In addition, subway riders have heard the common announcements on the subway PA system

that littering causes track fires, which of course, delays trains. Discarded newspapers are the worst culprit by easily catching fire from electrical equipment. Drainage systems clogged by wet newspapers also cause flooding.

 

Keep in mind that the figure above does not include the costs of regular litter bin collections at all of the subway stations.

 

And the cigarettes

 

Cigarette butts account for about 38% of the litter content in most cities, and people probably think flicking one cigarette butt out their car window, or out onto the sidewalk is insignificant, but the City of San Francisco spends about 11 million dollars a year just for cleanup of those itty bitty cigarette butts.

New York City most likely parallels that figure.

 

Bigger numbers

 

Annual costs for litter cleanup for the US are estimated at 11.5 billion a year – wow!

Just imagine how that money could be re-directed into much needed programs for

the city, such as education and rebuilding of the decaying infrastructure.

Solutions anyone?

 

I feel education in schools should be part of a country wide program.

Heavier fines and enforcement, backed up by articles in the media referencing

the crackdown can help deter the potential litter bug also.

Imagine if the city of New York used the same vigilance on their parking violations

dept on litter crackdown?

It would be a nice source of income for the city also.

Feedback or thoughts?  Feel free to post your comment below.

 

Cheers!

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LJ LaValle
LJ LaValle first began studying health and nutrition after confronting a health challenge back in the mid nineties in which later led to a passion in organic and natural living. After making a profound lifestyle change, LJ lost over 60 pounds and discovered many natural ways to live a healthy and wholesome life. Currently living in Brooklyn, LJ LaValle is founder of “LJLaValle.com” which caters to sharing ways to live an organic and healthy lifestyle.