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Thursday, September 5, 2013

McDonald's isn't just making us fat

     I recently walked from the kids playground on Cradlerock Rd. back to my house, a little over a mile.  I have to admit that I would normally drive this distance but it was a nice day to walk my grandsons to the playground.  I couldn't help but notice the litter along the way and decided on our way back to count the pieces of litter and from where they came.

     Since there is a McDonalds on Cradlerock across from the playground I wasn't surprised to find out that of the 19 pieces of litter 12 were from the McDonalds.  Soda cans and candy wrappers made up most of the rest.  I did see one Starbucks cup which surprised me.  Somehow young people eating at fast food at McDonalds has always seemed like the type of person who would litter.  I know that is stereotyping both young people and fast food users but I don't think I am too far off in identifying litterers.

    I've done some quick internet research on who is most likely to litter and it does seem that people who have little sense of ownership in a community are the most likely litterers.  I know that you can tell a neighborhood of renters as opposed to homeowners by how well the neighborhood is maintained.   This means that young people and people with little connection to an area are more likely to litter.  You are less likely to litter on your own street than somewhere far from where you live.  It also seems that just like the theory of the broken window creating a situation where other windows are likely to get broken it seems that one piece of litter can cause more littering.
    I know it is not practical but somehow it does seem fair that businesses that contribute to the litter problem, with fast food number one, would be made to pay for litter removal.  It would be cheaper than having fast food establishments paying workers a livable wage.

     Is throwing a banana peel or apple core out the window litter?  Even though we might think that organic material decomposed quickly and is not the same as other forms of litter it can cause other problems such as attracting bugs and other animals to an area.  Have you ever been surprised at the seagulls in the parking lot of the Dobbin Center?  Food scraps from the restaurants there attract these birds on a regular basis.

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