I live across the street from a grade school, which I like for any number of reasons. I like having a neighbourhood full of kids, I like having a large open space right there in front of my house for exercising our crazy dog, I like the idea that had we had children they would have had a 400 ft. walk to school.
What I don't like is the litter. Somewhere, along the way, we (the royal we, as in society at large) forgot to teach kids not to litter. School property is liberally bestrewn with pop cans, chip bags, plastic milk-to-go bottles, candy wrappers and all manner of other refuse, which, because we live in a particularly windy area, all ends up in my front garden at some point. I don't so much rake leaves in the spring and fall, I rake garbage.
I used to blame the kids, until my husband noticed that a fair amount of the loose garbage was Tim Horton's coffee cups and deduced that grade-schoolers aren't known for their double-double intake. Which means that the thoughtless 4th grader who abandons his empty milk carton in the school yard is likely emulating a parent who drops his empty coffee cup out his car window into the school parking lot during the morning drop off. Are you kidding me with this, people? You're grown ups! You know better than to dump your crap anywhere but in the garbage can! Come on!
The end result is that a rather nice little neighbourhood of tidy, well-kept (except for the suspected marijuana grow-up house, but that's another story), modest 1950s bungalows looks like crap because there's litter all over the place. Add to this the incredible amount of dog turds (are we the only ones who scoop the poop?), and you've got a visual and physical minefield every time you go for a walk.
So, what to do about it? Yes, calling the school is effective in that they'll send their janitor out with a pokey stick thing and a garbage bag to clean it up, but that doesn't solve the bigger issue of getting the kids and parents to stop throwing their crap around in the first place. Do I become the crazy Gladys Kravitz type and collect all the garbage myself into nice big clear bags and dump it on the Principal's desk, perhaps on Earth Day, to make a point? Or do I go the underground, guerilla route and start plastering the hydro poles around the school with tastefully designed flyers featuring the crying Indian from those American anti-littering PSAs of our youth (http://www.aef.com/exhibits/social_responsibility/ad_council/2278) -- which would amuse me greatly but would just be another form of litter, to be honest.
Hmmmmmm. Suggestions welcome. How would you lessen the litter in your neighbourhood?