trash in Los Angeles River

Trash collected by booms in the Los Angeles River after a storm. Picture owned by Tree Hugger.com

Today, Lily and I walked to the library. On the way there, we say a woman standing out in front of a building smoking a cigarette. Right as we walked by her, she finished and threw the butt on the ground. Usually, I will stay silent. Today, I did not. I asked her if she was going to pick it up. Her lips tightened, and she didn’t say anything.  I asked again, loudly, if she realized that butt would most likely end up in the gutter where it would float down to the ocean and pollute it. She turned her back on us and stalked toward the building.

I knew when I did that she would get pissed off, but, you know what, this world is not her trash can. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not anyone’s trash can. But every day the kids leave the schools, we find trash on the ground they’ve left behind. This happens even on the days when our cans are out for trash collection. While I wouldn’t want them dumping an entire trash bag into our can, if they lifted the lid and dropped in a wrapper or two, I wouldn’t care. Matter of fact, I’d prefer it if they did rather than have it on my lawn, sidewalk, or in the gutter where it will make it’s way to the ocean.

A few weeks ago, Lily and I participated in Heal the Bay’s Coastal Clean Up this year. Most of what we picked up were tiny pieces of styrofoam, cigarette butts, and tiny pieces of plastic. The amount of trash where we were was not like the picture, but it was still more than there should be.

Along with trash, I started finding piles of dog poop on our lawn. You know, if someone wants to have a dog, that’s fine. But if they are going to have one, they need to clean up after them. On one day alone, I picked up three piles of dog poop. Perhaps what I need is a camera out there to record them, so I can track down who’s leaving their crap on my lawn. (I’m not the only one. It’s happening to my neighbor’s, too. 🙁 ) Once I know who it is, I can gather it up in a paper bag, track them down, take it to their house, light the bag on fire, ring the doorbell, and run.

Not a good idea? Yeah, I know, but what makes them think I want their dog’s crap on my lawn? Okay. They aren’t thinking. They don’t give a sh**. I get it, but maybe they would if it happened to them. 😀

Or maybe not.

By the way, I called the place where I saw the woman smoking a cigarette to see if maybe they could put something out there for the smokers to leave their butts in. The woman wasn’t smoking on the sidewalk, but on the business property. Apparently, they aren’t supposed to smoke on the property at all. Perhaps it was wrong of me, but I reported it and described the woman… sort of. She looked like a staff member and not a student. Was that wrong of me? Honestly, if she’d picked up the butt and thrown it away, I’d’ve been fine with it. I don’t care if people smoke… much. As long as it’s not hurting anyone else, but when you litter… I really don’t like litter. Do I want her in trouble? No. Do I want her to lose her job? No. What do I want her to do? To stop littering. You know, it’s hard to teach your kid to throw trash in the garbage when they see an adult throwing trash on the ground.

I know smokers feel attacked. They get it from all sides anymore, but, you know, throwing a cigarette butt on the ground is no better than someone throwing their trash on the ground or not picking up after their dog.

Think, people. Just think.