The New Litter Gross-Out

I can’t stand litter of any kind.  Back in the pre-coronavirus days, I would regularly pick up the litter found around the perimeter of Schiller Park and fume inwardly at the jerks who deposited the litter in the first place.  Of course, the emergence of a global pandemic with multiple pathways for transmission made the litter pick-up approach especially ill-advised, so I stopped.

But now a new, and in my view especially gross, form of litter has emerged:  coronavirus masks.  It seems like you see them everywhere, and I find myself wondering why.  Are people wearing masks for a time, then casually tossing them by the side of the road because they used them for one wearing and feel like disposing of them properly is risky?  Or are masks just another form of debris, like soda cans or fast-food wrappers, to the litter-bugs among us?  It certainly doesn’t seem like the number of masks you see could be the product of, say, masks inadvertently falling out of someone’s pocket.

I applaud the use of masks as a sound public health measure, and I am happy to see that more and more people are accepting masks as part of reality of life during a grinding pandemic and wearing them in appropriate settings.  But mask responsibility has to extend beyond simply wearing the mask to include proper disposal, too.  It’s disgusting to see mask litter, and the people who are doing that littering aren’t holding up their end of the societal bargain.  Somebody else is going to have to go around and pick up those dirty masks that have been in touch with some unknown person’s mouth and nose.  It’s not only gross, incredibly jerky behavior, it makes any kind of contract tracing impossible.

So to the mask litterers out there, I say thanks for wearing a mask, but please — keep track of it and discard it properly, will you? 

Bad Litter

I despise litter, and litterbugs, and I pick it up and dispose of it because I feel it is my civic obligation to do so.  I’ll dispose of cans, plastic bottles, hamburger wrappers, newspaper, and french fry containers . . . but there are some forms of litter even a litter hawk like me won’t touch.

Like discarded q-tips.  Kleenex.  Soiled napkins.  And, today, used dental floss.

Seriously — used dental floss?  What kind of sociopathic jerk would throw used dental floss onto a public thoroughfare?

Bussing The ‘Hood

I really hate litter — and I also really like our neighborhood.  So when I’m out for my morning walk I pick up the random bits of trash that often litter the ground and pitch them into the trash cans found around the perimeter of Schiller Park.  It’s a beautiful park that is a cornerstone of our community, and it really bugs me when litter makes it look shabby.

There’s no end to the trash that thoughtless, ignorant jerks will leave behind to mar the landscape and become somebody else’s problem — discarded Starbucks cups and lids are a perennial find, but candy wrappers, newspapers, and Red Bull cans are commonplace, too,  and once I found and tossed a beggar’s cardboard “please help me” sign positioned right next to his tossed Old English 16-ounce can.  

The world would be a prettier, better place if everyone picked up a few pieces of unsightly debris — and if the stupid litterbugs ended their nasty habit in the first place and started caring about the appearance of their cities instead.  And don’t get me started about smokers and their casually tossed cigarette butts!