Trashing the litter critters
By David Menzies for MSN Autos
After Friday’s “Snowmergedden”, some good news did emerge: such as the visual spectacle of a picture-perfect winter wonderland. Snow on trees, snow on mailboxes, snow, snow, snow everywhere... the ivory-hued calm after the storm. The scene seemed good enough to grace a postcard... until I pulled into a mall parking lot north of Toronto. You see, eventually, I diverted my gaze to the ground below. And I kinda wish I hadn't.
Alas, the bliss generated by the white-on-white vista had soon morphed into disgust. The problem: so many motorists had been refilling their windshield wiper fluid reservoir tanks. And upon emptying those bottles, they just casually chucked the containers to the ground. Clunk! Just like that.
Now really, folks, I’m no neat-freak Felix Unger, but when did this sort of behaviour become acceptable?
A clear plastic container is almost invisible, I grant you that. But it’s still litter, no? And would chucking the empty bottle in the trunk for disposal at a later date be so onerous? It’s a plastic bottle after all – not a loaded diaper.
Indeed, as taxpayers, we have skin in the game here: it is estimated that it costs $20 million-per-year merely picking up after litterbugs in Toronto alone. So much for Hogtown being "New York as run by the Swiss" as Peter Ustinov opined in the 1970s.
All of which explains those anti-littering signs at many "problem" off-ramps. The signs feature an empty can with a red slash through it, noting there’s a $500 fine if you choose to chuck that Tim Hortons cup out the window (enforcement of this law, alas, is a different story...)
One last potential remedy for fighting littering (albeit mainly symbolic): Perhaps the time has come to replace Ontario’s vacuous tourism slogan ("Yours to Discover") which has graced licence plates since the early '80s? Why not bring back the original licence plate command of "Keep It Beautiful"?
Obviously, some people need reminding.