Will You Pick Up a Piece of Garbage Today?


Sometimes when we see a plastic bottle while we’re walking, we like to see how long we can kick it without breaking our stride. It can last a while — we played JV soccer in high school! But, clearly, veteran newsman Myron Kandel is a better person than we are. Today on the Times’ City Room blog, he unveils his “Pick a Little Bit of Litter” plan, which calls on New Yorkers to collectively clean up the city by individually throwing out one piece of trash they find on the sidewalk every day. We don’t want to be too dismissive of the idea, because it’s certainly proffered with the best of intentions and because we think we once sat next to Kandel, and he seemed nice.

It’s just that … this is never, ever going to happen. From what we know of the human race, the idea of grabbing random dirty garbage off of the city street just isn’t very appealing to people. However, Kandel points out that we would need some more trash baskets for his plan to work, and we think that step alone might make a big difference. We wonder how much litter simply results from that situation where you want to throw something out, but the garbage can is overflowing, so you just place your trash in a precarious position on top of the pile and walk away knowing that there’s a good chance it’ll be blown to the ground with the next gentle breeze.

Eradicate the Litter, One Piece at a Time [City Room/NYT]