Owning a commercial storefront and living along a busy street in an urban area can be quite the eye opening experience. The noise ceased to bother me a long time ago, but there is one thing I just can’t just and probably never will be able to tolerate: TRASH.No matter where you live, litter is always a problem, but in dense urban areas such as St. Louis City, managing this litter becomes an increasingly difficult task.
At its heart, the problem in this situation is with the people that litter. The people who care so little about their neighborhood and environment, they use the whole world as their trashcan. Its disgusting, but there is not a whole lot that can be done to turn around these people’s habits save a massive, and expensive, effort by our police force.
What we can control is the trash disposal options and, in that, we are failing miserably. Along Gravois Avenue in South St. Louis, where I am located, there are almost no trash cans along the street. Despite the fact that there are bus stops every 50 yards and convenience stores and fast food restaurants on every corner, there are hardly any trash cans. Should it surprise anyone that there is trash everywhere?
I understand the budgetary concerns involved with installing these trash cans and keeping up with unloading them, but one would have to think that this would cut down the amount of street cleaning and greatly improve the health and appearance of our neighborhoods and commercial districts. This in turn would increase property values and attract more residents, businesses and patrons, which all increase the tax base. Over the long term, an increased focus on litter-control would probably more than pay for itself.
Apparently the powers-that-be don’t agree. Business owners and residents are left holding the buck to keep our own real estate clean as well as our streets. That gets mighty old after a while and isn’t effective. On a windy day, I can clean up in front of my storefront five times a day and it still keeps coming back. I’m not expecting the trash to ever totally disappear, but sometimes I think it would be nice to see a little bit of help now and then. Or we can just continue to bury ourselves in our own filth. Personally, I like the first option.