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On the Subject of Litter
by Susan Round


April 21, 2004

I agree with you Karen Ramsey. Part of the "litter problem" is not seeing litter as a problem. I am reminded of a story told to me recently by a friend: Young but legal adults, throwing drink cans in the woods. They are spotted by the authorities and asked to pick up the litter they have created. A young woman is irate. "What's wrong with litter? Everyone just cares about what the tourists think." I believe there is a perception that litter is not a problem. That cleanliness is a superficial concern. That litter in the woods is OK because we can't see it. It suggests that the place to really tackle the attitude that is creating the litter problem, is in the places we find our very young, impressionale, and therefore trainable: our families, our daycares and preschools, our sunday schools, and our elementary schools. Begin here cultivating an understanding that littering is not acceptable or excusable, and proper disposal of our garbage is a personal responsibility.

Litter is unsightly. Some litter such as broken glass and sharp metal can injure people, sometimes severely. Some litter such as such as plastics and oil can injure or kill wild animals. Large litter on the road or airborn litter can cause auto accidents. Some litter such as cigarette filters, packing peanuts, and chewing gum take an eternity to breakdown. So to the irate young woman I say: Don't curb your inclination to litter for the "tourists" sake, please do it for me and many other Ketchikan residents who prefer our human habitat clean, safe, and "natural" looking.

Susan Round
Ketchikan, AK - USA



Related Viewpoint:

Naive Hope by Karen Ramsey - Ward Cove, AK - USA

Speaking out against littering by Karen Ramsey - Ward Cove - 04/18/04


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