News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007


Some people don't 'see a problem with littering'

An incident in Athens on Tuesday may give insight into why our roadways are so unsightly. Police said their outside surveillance camera caught a young woman dropping a glass bottle that shattered.

She refused to pick up the glass so officer Charlie Clem began writing her a ticket for littering.

Why did she refuse to pick up the broken bottle?

To this 23-year-old from Missouri, littering is not a crime, police said. They also quoted her as saying she didn't see a problem with littering.

Littering is a crime and police also charged her with disorderly conduct for the way she reacted.

Her claim that not knowing that littering is a crime might cause a raised eyebrow or two. But to say she sees no problem with littering evokes pity. Some people grow up in an environment where litter is the norm so they spread trash wherever they go.

Winter laid bare our rights of way and revealed an awful mess of bottles, cans, food wrappers and a variety of other forms of litter. It's there because people don't see a problem with littering.

You might say the Athens department lucked into the incident they said occurred outside their headquarters. Police have a difficult time making littering cases.

The only way to effectively stop littering is to teach people at an early age to respect their environment and to help keep it clean.

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