Attention: *"gross" alert* If you have a really queasy system, get someone else to read this blog for you. You're not off the hook, though.
This concerns litter, everything from torn newspaper pieces and 3/4 empty drink bottles, all the way down to cigarette butts. It's everywhere. Why are people such slobs? Even when there are multiple trash cans right there?
Being a bus rider, I do not appreciate having to stand in squalor when waiting for my ride. But I'm not helpless, either, so I do the next best thing: I pick it up. All of it. All the torn newspaper pieces, all the drink bottles, and yes, even all the cigarette butts. If the ride is late enough, I will gather every last gum wrapper, and stick it in whatever's handy -- a pretzel bag, a paper cup, a trash can if available.
Yes, I pick it all up with my bare hands. Yes, it's sometimes yucky. I also always carry a paper towel (often damp) with me to wipe my hands on when done. I started that habit when the kids were tiny and someone was always making a mess, but even today, I daily find a use for that damp paper towel. I also usually have a plastic grocery bag folded in one pocket, so if there isn't a trash can handy, it all goes in the bag until I find one.
What I'm saying is that everyone else should do likewise. If you're at a bus stop and have two or six or 15 minutes, then spend one or five or 14 minutes and pick up around where you are.
The bus stop in question today was at Forbes and Stevenson, right next to Duquesne University and Mercy Hospital. In my case the bus was late and I had 15, most of which time I was alone, so that stop was devoid of litter by the time the bus came along.
It's amazing just how much difference a couple of minutes of anti-littering can make. What's equally amazing is how long it stays looking nice. True, someone can trash it in minutes, but it might be days before that happens. At any rate, when I caught that inbound 67F a few hours later, which took me right past that spot, I got a nice warm fuzzy feeling seeing how neat and tidy that little piece of city looked.
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* * * Original comments from 2007 * * *
Great job, Stu! I wish there were more people like you out there!
I would still like to get a group of us together and do some cleaning. Perhaps we could leave a leaflet up saying "Cleaned by Stu and The Pittsburgh STORM" with links to our MySpace pages or "Cleaned by -ORGANIZATION NAME-".
Let me know, and keep up the great work!