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Old 12-24-2011, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
64 posts, read 79,762 times
Reputation: 50

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Let's face, our beloved city can sometimes have a little too much litter. While some neighbourhoods are much worse than others, I would say as a whole, San Francisco has more litter than your average big American or Canadian city.
My biggest problem with this issue is that I feel like it's one that can be fixed relatively easily. While other issues such as homelessness and the high living costs are very complex, the litter issue seems rather simple to me by comparison.

What are your suggestions?

Off the top of my head, here a few of mine:

  • The police department needs to make a concerted effort to fine those that litter. From what I understand, the littering fines in the city are $250. But it's no good to have a fine if they aren't enforced at all.
  • While i'm fine with the littering fine being $250, I would increase the fines for illegal dumping to something much higher.
  • The garbage bins in San Francisco are way too open. This causes two problems: winds can easily blow some of the garbage away when the garbage bins get full and people can easily sift through the garbage looking for cans or other things. I used to live in Toronto and their garbage bins were far more closed off than the ones in San Francisco (see photo here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeclark/104784953/ - broken link)). Therefore, it was easy to dispose of garbage, but almost impossible to take garbage out.
  • Finally, i'm not quite sure what the exact solution is, but perhaps the biggest problem is the garbage, recycling and compost bins that businesses bring out at the end of the day to be picked up later that night. A lot of times, these bins are overstuffed to the point that the lids can't be closed. Night after night, homeless people and other people scrounging around for cans have a heyday with these bins and it's not uncommon to see garbage bags from these bins ripped open and their contents strewn about. I don't know how realistic my solutions are, but firstly, i'd fine any building that overflows their bins. Secondly, I would enforce that all of these bins must be locked at night. The only people that could unlock these bins would be the businesses themselves and the garbage collection people.


Some people may argue that we need to teach individuals why littering is wrong and harmful to our society, but I really don't believe that this would be as effective as negative reinforcement (although it's sad to say). Let's face, people don't double park because they know it's wrong. They don't double park because they don't want to get fined.


What are your thoughts?
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,051 posts, read 18,744,351 times
Reputation: 8069
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringOldMike4554 View Post
Let's face, our beloved city can sometimes have a little too much litter. While some neighbourhoods are much worse than others, I would say as a whole, San Francisco has more litter than your average big American or Canadian city.
My biggest problem with this issue is that I feel like it's one that can be fixed relatively easily. While other issues such as homelessness and the high living costs are very complex, the litter issue seems rather simple to me by comparison.

What are your suggestions?

Off the top of my head, here a few of mine:

  • The police department needs to make a concerted effort to fine those that litter. From what I understand, the littering fines in the city are $250. But it's no good to have a fine if they aren't enforced at all.
  • While i'm fine with the littering fine being $250, I would increase the fines for illegal dumping to something much higher.
  • The garbage bins in San Francisco are way too open. This causes two problems: winds can easily blow some of the garbage away when the garbage bins get full and people can easily sift through the garbage looking for cans or other things. I used to live in Toronto and their garbage bins were far more closed off than the ones in San Francisco (see photo here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeclark/104784953/ - broken link)). Therefore, it was easy to dispose of garbage, but almost impossible to take garbage out.
  • Finally, i'm not quite sure what the exact solution is, but perhaps the biggest problem is the garbage, recycling and compost bins that businesses bring out at the end of the day to be picked up later that night. A lot of times, these bins are overstuffed to the point that the lids can't be closed. Night after night, homeless people and other people scrounging around for cans have a heyday with these bins and it's not uncommon to see garbage bags from these bins ripped open and their contents strewn about. I don't know how realistic my solutions are, but firstly, i'd fine any building that overflows their bins. Secondly, I would enforce that all of these bins must be locked at night. The only people that could unlock these bins would be the businesses themselves and the garbage collection people.

Some people may argue that we need to teach individuals why littering is wrong and harmful to our society, but I really don't believe that this would be as effective as negative reinforcement (although it's sad to say). Let's face, people don't double park because they know it's wrong. They don't double park because they don't want to get fined.


What are your thoughts?
At a time when Police Departments are laying off and cutting back you want them to spend time enforcing litter laws?
One problem I had was scavengers dumping my recycling in order to take the bottles and cans
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:36 AM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA
326 posts, read 411,651 times
Reputation: 223
Its always been my perception that big cities and garbage go hand-in-hand but I do think a more concerted effort to lock the cans might work.

The only problem is this would most likely make trash collection take about twice as long from having to unlock cans so I'm not sure if its realistic. On the plus side, you wouldn't have to see people going through your trash at night
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
64 posts, read 79,762 times
Reputation: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boompa View Post
At a time when Police Departments are laying off and cutting back you want them to spend time enforcing litter laws?
One problem I had was scavengers dumping my recycling in order to take the bottles and cans
To answer your first question, yes I do. Part of the problem right now is that's it's already an extremely low priority issue right now. There might as well not even be a fine at this point. If you've ever read 'The Tipping Point' by Malcolmn Gladwell, there's an excellent chapter about how graffitti and vandalism on New York subways was a partial catalyst for other more serious crimes. I'm certain that litter can definitely have the same effect.
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
64 posts, read 79,762 times
Reputation: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomlcsc View Post
Its always been my perception that big cities and garbage go hand-in-hand but I do think a more concerted effort to lock the cans might work.

The only problem is this would most likely make trash collection take about twice as long from having to unlock cans so I'm not sure if its realistic. On the plus side, you wouldn't have to see people going through your trash at night
I agree that big cities will generally be dirtier and they will never ever be squeaky clean (nor we would want them to). But having lived in several cities in my life, it pains me to say that San Francisco has by far the worst litter problem of all of them. Which is a bit of shame, as it's otherwise one of the most beautiful cities on earth.
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:10 AM
 
2,169 posts, read 4,047,296 times
Reputation: 2410
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringOldMike4554 View Post
To answer your first question, yes I do.

SF is in the middle of a huge crime spree and you are worried about litter??

Armed robbers run roughshod on SF residents

Armed robbers run amok in San Francisco during weekend

Gun-toting scoundrel robs woman in front of her children

Potrero Hill community halts robbery rampage
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,051 posts, read 18,744,351 times
Reputation: 8069
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringOldMike4554 View Post
To answer your first question, yes I do. Part of the problem right now is that's it's already an extremely low priority issue right now. There might as well not even be a fine at this point. If you've ever read 'The Tipping Point' by Malcolmn Gladwell, there's an excellent chapter about how graffitti and vandalism on New York subways was a partial catalyst for other more serious crimes. I'm certain that litter can definitely have the same effect.
Sorry I don't see it that way at all. To my experience San Francisco is one of the cleanest cities i have lived in. There isn't even much graffitti.
My problem certainly wasn't adolescents trying to mve up from littering to violent crime, it was elderly scavengers going through my recycling at 5am looking for bottles and cans then leaving the papers scattered on the sidewalk. Perhaps the police could hide a man inside my can to apprehend the miscreants
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
64 posts, read 79,762 times
Reputation: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boompa View Post
Sorry I don't see it that way at all. To my experience San Francisco is one of the cleanest cities i have lived in. There isn't even much graffitti.
My problem certainly wasn't adolescents trying to mve up from littering to violent crime, it was elderly scavengers going through my recycling at 5am looking for bottles and cans then leaving the papers scattered on the sidewalk. Perhaps the police could hide a man inside my can to apprehend the miscreants
I think your missing the point a bit. And I know the poster above you certainly is. The same people who litter aren't usually the same people who perform violent crimes. But an area with a lot of litter is a an area that shows a lack of caring for it's surroundings. Another example of what i'm trying to get at is broken window theory: Broken windows theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The second sentence on the page sums things up pretty well: "The theory states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism as well as an escalation into more serious crime."

San Francisco is actually very clean in other ways. For example, it's air quality is amazing for a big city, but there is no question that it has a littering problem.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
64 posts, read 79,762 times
Reputation: 50
I never said I wasn't worried about the more serious crime in the city. I'm sorry that I have a problem with the litter in our city, but i'm certainly not trying to belittle the other more serious crimes in San Francisco. However, if everyone had your attitude, the problem is only going to get worse before it's get better.
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Old 12-24-2011, 02:32 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,464,653 times
Reputation: 2915
There's really not that much trash on most blocks in SF, the main problem is that it's just really grimy and grungy and smelly because it's such a dense city with so many people passing over every block. And there's poop and pee everywhere downtown from homeless people, and in the Mission because, well, I guess people from rural Mexico think it's ok to pee in the street.

The city does a lot of work on cleaning up the streets but they just can't keep up with the effects of being so dense. They clean the streets every other day and they still get all grimy 5 minutes later, and they send DPW trucks around to clean up messes and pick up stuff people dump on corners like TV's and beds and and so on. I'm sure they do this less than they used to. BART and Muni stations are pretty clean of trash but they are just grimy because they really need either some severe pressure washing or some refubishment of the walls. And are the taxpayers of SF going to pay more to have cleaner-looking streets and public transit stations? Hell no.

You want to see cities with trash lying around all over the place and blowing around in the wind, go to the UK. Go to a city park somewhere like Glasgow or London and there's plastic bags stuck in all the trees.
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