Is Littering Job Creation?

Most days I notice litter (other peoples junk) that’s made its way into our yard, obviously blown in by the wind. Some days I don’t have a problem with picking it up and tossing it in the bin but then there are days I get so mad at people for tossing their dirt they carelessly dump for me to pick up.

My parents taught me (more like forced me) not to litter and it’s something I teach my kids too. So much so that at any given time my handbag is filled with candy wrappers and lots of crap. Without thinking, K3 will hand me their papers to toss in my bag, which doesn’t make for finding anything easily amongst all my junk I have stored there already. It may seem insignificant to others but to me it’s a small victory and a sign that I’m still on track with this mothering thing. I’m a real nag about littering so I really shouldn’t be complaining when I find sweet papers and empty chips packets in their pockets in the laundry bin either. They’re doing their bit at keeping the environment a bit cleaner by giving me extra hassle when doing the washing. Can’t win all the time now can I?

The other day when fetching Little K from school, she handed me an empty wrapper as usual and I didn’t have any pockets to put it in. As we walked (yeah, I still don’t have that plastic card to legalize my driving) another mom asked me to hand her the wrapper. I looked at her quizzically and asked if she intended to toss it on the ground. Her reply was “I’m creating jobs”. Shocked that people still use that excuse, I decided to hold onto that wrapper and told her that I’d rather not litter. Conversation over. No debates. No force feeding of opinions either. Just a change of topic and we were on our merry way. Come to think of it I didn’t think of it until yesterday when I had to pick up papers due to the aftermath of the wind.

It’s true that people don’t think about the consequences of their actions albeit something as insignificant as littering. In fact it’s human nature. As long as something doesn’t impact us right this minute then we’re not worried. Yet that same things we take for granted are the very things that irk us when we have to sit in someone else’s filth. But what about the impacts of it all in the long run? What about our children and their children one day? What will our environment look like in the future? It’s no one’s sole responsibility to keep our environment clean, yet it’s everybodies. But creating jobs? What on earth…

Quite frankly if people are so sure about creating jobs by littering then why am I still unemployed and why do I not get a single cent for picking up other people’s junk in the yard. Do they even believe those words or is it just something “cool” they heard somewhere and chose to adopt that saying? If so then my simple response to them is that “cool is for kids”, after all kids don’t know any better.

While we haven’t yet gone completely green (biodegradable does not fit completely in my budget), we do try our hand at recycling by collecting plastic bottles and donate it to my parents church for recycling. We don’t toss our junk anywhere besides the refuse bin (and my bag) and try to participate in ‘clean-up’ drives when we can. I realize that my family and I cannot save the environment but I believe that a little goes a long way. Like us there are plenty of families and individuals who do their bit for a cleaner environment. We just need to work on the litter bugs of this world.

PS: I am very fond of the mother (who “creates jobs”) and this is not a personal attack on her. I’ve just heard too many people say the same line before and playing the ignorance card is going to cost all of us in the long run.

What do you think about littering and how do you encourage your family to recycle?


4 thoughts on “Is Littering Job Creation?

  1. Ooooh I am so with you on this, you have written what I think. At the end of our road there is a wetland, it is so spoilt with litter. Lately when I run our dogs there my husband takes gloves and a black bag and picks up other peoples mess. Last month he collected about 50 kg of litter (yes he weighs it 🙂 this month he has already picked up close to 60kg. He then seperates it for recycling. If you visit here don’t think we’re rampant alcoholics, all the bottles outside are garage are from the veld and to be sent for recycling.


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