Bottle Litter - Inside the mind of a litterer

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Bottle Litter

INSIDE THE MIND OF A LITTERER


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I was walking along a neighbourhood the other day and saw this empty bottle of beer on the floor. It's not unusual to find several bottles like the one, often already broken, scattered along the floor, especially in alleyways. I stopped to take this photo because of the aesthetics. I usually take such photos when I see them, but it got me thinking about the mind of the person that left the bottle there. What was on their mind when they did it?

  • Irresponsible

This person does not see themselves as being a part of a collective responsibility, hence they don't see themselves as responsible for a clean and safe neighbourhood. Perhaps they're not from that neighbourhood, or they don't feel invested in it. This is common with people that rent rather than buy into a community. Nothing wrong with renters, but this behaviour has been observed more in people that don't feel they have a stake in a residential community.

  • Nonchalant

This person simply doesn't care about, or never puts a thought into, the harm they may be doing to the community by leaving a bottle on the floor. It's litter, so it visually pollutes the environment. It is also very likely to break, at which point it becomes a health and safety hazard to member of the community.

  • Malicious

This person has deliberately done this because they actively hate the community, hence have no qualms littering it. Having said that, I would expect the bottle to already be broken since they probably would have thrown the bottle at the wall or something to that effect.

  • Uncultured

This person grew up in a place where this is acceptable behaviour, hence don't see it as anything wrong. This is an unfortunately large section of the population of London, and the most likely scenario here. It's kind of a controversial topic to talk about, since it comes with all manner of politically incorrect insinuations, but it's just the truth.

  • Drunk

This person was drunk, especially considering the previous content of the bottle, and thus none of the above aforementioned points necessarily apply.



Litter and human sociology /

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I came across this fantastic blog post that talks about an experiment in two different neighbourhoods in the Untied States; one affluent and the other poor. It references the "Broken Window Theory" which is an interesting theory that explains why large congested cities, particularly inner cities, are so dirty and sometimes crime-ridden.

I think the sociological aspect of the theory can also be applied to entire nations that suffer from the same triggers of neglect and apparent impunity. If a populace believe their government or the authorities are not taking care of them, but instead are plundering the national resources, then they're unlikely to care or feel patriotic about their countries. They may even go as far as hating their countries or be more likely to commit crimes of opportunity since "the government themselves are doing it". This can develop into a culture of antisocial behaviour such as littering frivolously and frequently engaging in petty crime.

Peace & Love,

Adé



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13 comments
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Cities can seem impersonal places and people may feel they don't need to care about them, but smaller communities have issues too. We get plenty of litter around here too. People will just drop stuff rather than wait until they get to a bin, and there are a few of those around. There's an old guy I often see emptying them. I must admit in my youth I may have littered, but I wouldn't dream of it now.

Getting people to care about things can be hard, as politicians and campaigners often find. We have to see it as worth caring about things beyond our immediate needs.

!PIZZA

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Yes indeed, people treat it like a public toilet contrasted with how they treat their own toilet at home.

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I know some people don't even treat their own homes very well. I don't know how you could get them to change.

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That was not a drunk person because the bottle is intact.

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That was not a drunk person because the bottle is intact.

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Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, our town decided to go through a cultural transformation. The number of police forces patrolling streets has increased. They were slowly driving around the neighbourhood and their task was to spot anyone littering, be it a cigarette or rubbish, and issue fines.

My little brother got a fine for sitting on the tree, for example.

After a couple of years, our town has become the cleanest in the whole of Latvia. We have learned to love and appreciate our surroundings.

Unfortunately, I don't recall any other city in the country trying the same approach.

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Hey! How are you? Long time.

That's the same sort of thing that happened in Singapore and Rwanda and now they're two of the cleanest countries in the world. That may be the only way to achieve a cleaner society haha.

My little brother got a fine for sitting on the tree, for example.

Oh wow, that's a bit harsh! I would have been fined everyday then. My parents would have to disown me because I'd cost too much in fines. :)

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This is a wonderful analysis that covers all the available ground, but with a level of empathy ... not necessarily malicious, possibly drunk ... well-considered, overall.

The challenge is as follows, and can be taken as the legacy of the British Empire AND the nation made of its most rebellious 13 colonies: if people do not feel cared for, they in return will not care. They will stage whatever level of revenge that they can ... even if that means knowing they should take litter to a bin, but not doing it...

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Thank you :)

You know, living here, it still amazes me till today to think how such a small country could have bulldozed it's way across most of the planet the way Britain did!

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Desperation to survive when you are that small can produce amazing results ... remember the words to the chorus of Rule Britannia, in a world making slaves and colonies left and right!

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Yes it was celebrated. How times have changed. I think.

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