What if dog owners could help tackle Philly's litter problem? Ok, so hear me out on this one. It's long documented that we have litter issues in Philly. Some neighborhoods are better than others and it can be blamed on everything from lack of street sweeping, lack of public trashcans, people who put recycling out in paper bags that break apart and become litter bombs with the slightest wind gust (use plastic bins!) to people who frankly don't care and litter at will. We know what causes it, a lot of us feel that the City isn't doing enough to combat it, so maybe it's time to DO something about it.
I've been on a litter eradication campaign for years. Our block (in Bella Vista) has fought a long battle with neighborhood trash and we've done so through pressure on deadbeat corporate landowners (who don't clean regularly) and through good ol' elbow grease. We regularly pick up trash on our block and neighboring blocks. (For the record: there is a great website for people who want to "adopt" blocks in Philly and commit clean them up regularly called Not in Philly. There's even a facebook group for us to post pictures of the bags of trash we've cleaned up and weird things we find. A Pabst can in a rose bush on 10th Street might have been on of the most Philly pieces of litter I've picked up.)
But back to dog owners. So good dog owners pick up their monster's poo 100% of the time, right? And typically we're doing so using plastic poop bags that we squash poop into and then tie up and discard. Next time you do this, scan your surroundings. Can you spot a used cigarette butt, candy wrapper or other piece of urban detritus in your immediate surrounding? Unfortunately, in a lot of our neighborhoods, the answer will be sadly, yes. (If you can't, that's awesome.)
So what am I proposing you do? Squish that piece of trash right in there with the poo and throw it out! This does not work with large items like plastic water bottles (I've tried), but for small pieces of litter it works great. Think about it - you're picking up FECES. Is it any more disgusting to grab a Snickers wrapper, a bottle cap or a cigarette butt too? The bag is your barrier anyway! There are tens of thousands of dogs that get walked in Philly, multiple times each day. If a fraction of us picked up litter each day we might make a dent in it.
So it's not going to solve the problem, but if you're like me and so frustrated with litter problems, I say pick it up with some poo! If anything, it might just make you feel better that you left your neighborhood a bit prettier than it was before.