Why All the Litter?

RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 8, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I have lived in Austin for 12 years now. The population here has roughly doubled in that time. The amount of development is staggering but inevitable. What I truly cannot understand is the amount of litter strewn everywhere. I'd say this problem has increased by a factor of 10. It's disgraceful. I have had visitors from other cities comment on how trashed this town is. All one has to do is look down. You cannot turn your head without seeing litter. It doesn't matter if it's at a state park, a gas station, a grocery store, or along every road. There is an unbelievable amount of garbage everywhere. There isn't a parking lot in this town that doesn't have a fast-food bag lying in it.
    I actually stared in disbelief recently as some guy tossed his trash on the ground at Jack in the Box. He picked it up when he realized I was looking right at him – only to toss it in the back of his pickup. That bag certainly got sucked out as soon as he hit highway speed. That's where most of the road trash comes from.
    I pick up a lot of other people's trash. I do as much as I can. The city of Austin says to just call 311, and a manager of code enforcement will investigate the matter. I've tried that for Davis Lane. I got a call back, but I have seen no action. I realize there's a lot of area to cover, but it really seems like nobody gives a shit and everyone has blinders on.
    Sorry, but the Don't Mess With Texas campaign isn't enough. Minimum fines need to be dramatically increased for littering and need to be strictly enforced. I'm at a loss to come up with a better solution. Maybe the city could double the amount of code-enforcement managers. Clearly they are overwhelmed.
Brian Gleason
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