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outapitts

Litter in Pittsburgh

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Disclaimer: This is not a post meant to bash the city or bait anyone into an argument. I will do my very best not to articulate my own personal emotions into any more of my posts. End of Disclaimer.

Ok, so here's something I wanna talk about: Litter in Pittsburgh. Ever since I was a little kid and my dad would take me to Three Rivers Stadium to see the Pirates, I noticed the large amounts of trash strewn along side of the parkway, downtown, and just about everywhere in sight. Nothing has changed since then. The road banks, medians, and gutters are choked with litter. Mainly it's stuff that was obviously tossed out the window by commuters. Mostly coffee cups, fountain cups, fast food refuse, etc.

Most Pittsburghers probably don't think this is a big problem, since very little is being done about it and it's been this way for so long. However, I think many out-of-towners might see us as a bunch of disgusting litterbugs. I've seen the occasional group of civic-minded volunteers from time to time picking up trash in the summertime on the side of the road, but within a few days the work they did is undone with new litter.

Personally I feel that there should be some strict, enforced laws against littering. The key word here is "enforced". Even in some of the most dilapadated neighborhoods, a lack of litter would make it look 100 times better. I was exited about Bob O' Connor's "red up Pittsburgh" agenda. That guy would have done so much good for the city.

So now what? Any suggestions? Personally I think the litter issue should be a huge priority for the city. Anyone caught littering should be fined and forced to spend a weekend picking up litter themselves. What do y'all think?

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I seem to remember they were going to fine people for littering, at least in certain neighborhoods, but I don't know if anything came of it. I'm not sure you really can enforce it.

People need to take pride in their city and keep it clean, but I don't know how to encourage that. The sort who are likely to litter probably wouldn't pay attention to any kind of campaign.

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What about prisoners? Central PA has some programs where large groups of prisoners clean up litter regularly. Why not do that here? Also, a $1,000.00 fine + cummunity service might deter people from throwing stuff out the window, even if there's only a slight chance of them actually being caught.

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I don't know if they do that here or not (the prisoners picking up litter). It would work for highways and stuff, but probably not city streets.

I wonder how many of the litter-bugs are students. Those who are from out of town may not feel as much responsibility for keeping the city clean. (This is not to say that all students litter, of course). Certainly Oakland is one of the neighborhoods with a litter problem. Whereas residential areas with lower student population, such as Highland Park, seem much cleaner.

On the whole I don't think I see excessive an amount of litter, but in Oakland and parts of Downtown I do agree it's a problem. Those are both neighborhoods with lots of students.

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I was going to avoid any and all Outapitts posts, but I like how this has become a productive discussion and not the baiting/bashing that I expected when opening this, so I'll add to it.

Litter is generally a symptom of poverty... usually seen with low-wage renters without a stake in the neighborhood. In Pittsburgh, as well as in pretty much any other city, a lot of litter can be seen when traveling through neighborhoods with a large percentage of impoverished people. I also agree with Gerbil regarding students in areas like Oakland - they have no stake in their neighborhood and often landlords are not held accountable. This was also a huge problem in Columbus near OSU. Neighborhood initiatives that encourage home-ownership will have an affect on this problem. Tougher laws and steep fines would probably help for landlords who don't take care of their properties.

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Pittsburgh is a pretty city no matter how much it's government or economy suck at the present time. I understand the whole thing about poverty and the college kids too. If this was some cookie-cutter town in the middle of the midwest somewhere then all this litter wouldn't stand in such stark contrast as it does in Pittsburgh. However, I think the litter problem in Pittsburgh is twice as bad just because the city's so uniquely beautiful in many ways to begin with. Something needs to be done about it. It's so much more of an eyesore because of the fact it's in Pittsburgh.

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