Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do NOT Mess with Texas!

Not only am I a gardener, but I am also a tree-hugger, lover of nature, and HATE litter. I used to volunteer to pick up garbage in the national parks back home in my free time. Littering really ticks me off. People invented garbage cans for a reason. Use them. I have seen people litter in other states and it makes me angry and disgusted, but the AMOUNT of littering I have witnessed since I have been in Texas has me dumbfounded, floored, perplexed.

OK, I don't get it. I really don't. Texans seem so proud of their state, but yet every day I see people throwing garbage out the windows of their cars or leaving trash on tables in the park or just littering in general like it is no big deal. What is up with that? I am seriously outraged. I have never seen so many people with such disregard for their State. I am quite sure most Texans would never think to do such a disgusting thing as to dirty up their state, and that a few bad apples are causing the bulk of the damage, but the disregard for the environment I have seen lately is just plain sickening to me.

A couple days ago - ALL IN THE SAME DAY - I witnessed:

- A mother turn around in her car at a stoplight and apparently instruct her child to throw garbage out the window. The window opened, the child bent down to grab garbage from the floor (as the parent pointed out directions),and proceeded to roll it up into a large wad (fast food bag and its contents, I think), leaned back to get a good angle, and chucked the entire thing out the window WITH the parent watching. UN-Believable.

- A young man man throw a filled super-size plastic soda container out of his moving vehicle into the median full of wildflowers.

- A person in a shiny new BMW pitch an unknown wad of refuse out the window on the highway.

- An AMBULANCE driver throw empty fast food containers out the window while driving. An Ambulance Driver! WTF?!?

- Any number of people throwing cigarettes out the window into the crispy-critters median. We are in a critical drought people! That could start a fire!! Not to mention it takes 25 years for a cigarette butt to decompose. Morons.

- The pre-teen kids that rode their bikes in front of my house throwing construction paper bits every which way. I yelled at them - I am sure I will be receiving an egging in a day or so...

- The neighbor kid who eats Popsicles from the Popsicle man and throws the garbage in the wash. I saw her go for the drain with some garbage one time and told her to go put that in the garbage where it belonged - in the trash, not the drain, and proceeded to explain to her why you should not throw garbage in the drain. I have seen the parents yell at her for throwing garbage in the drain too. So at least there's that...

- Garbage left on a park table with the garbage can at the END OF THE TABLE, not but 3 feet away. How lazy can a person be? I mean seriously!(and yes, of course I threw out the garbage for them)

ALL of the above witnessed in ONE day. ONE. It pissed me off and inspired this blog posting. Have some respect for your neighborhood, city, and country people.

I have begun turning people in. Learn how to turn in a litterer HERE

Just some random facts about approximately how long it takes for ordinary objects to biodegrade/photodegrade(assuming they are not buried in a landfill and are just strewn about):

Biodegradable: capable of decaying through the action of living organisms.
Photodegradable: capable of being broken down by light.

Paper napkins, 1 year
Newspaper, 5 years
Plastic Coated Paper, 5 years
Plastic bags, 10-20 years
Cigarettes, 25 years (butts are made of plastic, NOT of cotton and paper)
Nylon fabric, 40 years
Styrofoam, 50 years
Tin cans, 50 years
Plastic six-pack rings, 100 years
Plastic Cups, 250 years
Aluminum cans, 200-500 years
Glass bottle, 1 million years

It takes a long time for things to decompose. Please do not throw things out your window or into the wash.

Why shouldn't you throw trash out windows of cars or into washes you ask? A number of reasons:

1) Throwing trash and food out the window attracts animals to the roadsides where they may get hit. Also, animals gets their heads stuck in bottles and cans and also in the plastic 6 pack rings used to hold them together.

2) People and animals cut their feet on the broken glass and other garbage.

3) It costs billions of dollars of your tax money to clean it up.

4) Littering brings down the property value of your neighborhood.

5)Discarded cigarettes start wildfires - Smokey the Bear says 'Only You Can prevent Wildfires!'

Read a scanned copy of the 60's Smokey the Bear comic (I really dig this comic by the way)

6) Everything eventually ends up in rivers and streams and from there makes its way to the ocean.

Read about the plastic ocean twice the size of Texas HERE and HERE

7) It is unsightly and disrespectful. Plastic bags DO NOT look pretty hanging from trees and bushes.

8) Do you want to drink water filled with garbage or clouded with chemicals? Walk along park paths filled with garbage? Eat fish filled with plastic particles? Play on a beach full of trash? Risk your house being burned down by a wildfire caused by a flicked cigarette? I didn't think so.

Have pride in your state. Don't Litter! Would you be proud of your home if it were covered in garbage? Of course not! Then why would you be proud to have people visit your state when it is covered in litter? Stop throwing garbage out your window!! Please use garbage cans and always keep a bag for garbage in your vehicle. If you see garbage, pick it up. Texas IS your state, and it IS your problem.

Texas is a beautiful state and I would like to say I am proud to live here - please keep it clean.

As Woodsy the Owl would say "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute"


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Great rant!

I'm just as frustrated as you. Why can't people just do the right thing because it is the right thing? They act like small children and live unthinkingly in the world...only doing the right thing if they are "caught" by someone in authority. And even then, most of them just shrug their shoulders and don't give a damn.


Sue Swift said...

I'm with you 100% and oh how I wish we could turn in litterers here too.

What I just can't understand is why these people don't care. And why they don't understand, or value, the difference between an environment which is protected and cared for and one which is neglected and exploited. I can't help thinking that the attitude must extend to everything they do. How sad for them. I would not want to live inside their minds.

Bonnie said...

I was driving my kids home from school and passed by firemen putting out a brush fire along 2222, right where I had driven not 5 minutes before. Apparently, someone had tossed a cigarette out the window. It was amazing how fast it started and how fast it spread. Thank god the fire station is close by.

Lori said...

No kidding! The most shocking time I witnessed littering was when one of my freaking passengers rolled down the window of my car when we were zooming down the highway and tossed out a one of those big gas station soda cups. It was everything I could do not to yank the car over to the median with a giant screech of brakes and make her go pick the damn thing up. And the look of shock I got from her with my "don't litter, you moron!" lecture still makes me mad.

In WI it wasn't so bad, but if I recall correctly, there was also a hefty fine if you were caught. That doesn't seem to be the case in Texas.

Lee17 said...


I know! Grow up people! Jeez.

Lee17 said...


It is sad isn't it? I just wish people would have more respect for the world around them. We only have the ONE world ya know....

Lee17 said...


That is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about! Do people not think about the effects of their actions? You could burn someone's house down like that. C'mon people!

Lee17 said...


Right! What is up with that?!? I mean seriously. Don't throw trash out your window people! How old are you? Jeez. Apparently Texas needs to inflict heavy fines on people for littering. If people act like children, then treat them like children.

People should have more respect for their state than that.

Miranda said...

- A young man man throw a filled super-size plastic soda container out of his moving vehicle into the median full of wildflowers.

It gets worse. I *promise* you that bottle didn't have soda in it. We had an ad campaign here recently (and a couple years ago in another state I lived in) begging people not to pee in soda bottles and throw them out the window, because when mowers hit them, they explode, and, well...ewww.