There is something you should know about me. Litterbugs make my skin crawl.
Waiting to catch my train home on one of those warm and beautiful spring days last year, I saw something I still remember as one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. A woman sitting on a bench was listening to her CD player. When the batteries died, she made sure they were drained, and then tossed them onto the railroad tracks. There was a trashcan three feet away.
Now, I am not naive enough to be shocked when someone litters. But laziness and apathy, whatever the cause was in this case, never ceases to amaze me. This woman found it too difficult to stand up, walk to the trashcan, and throw out her batteries. In fact, she probably could have thrown them in without even getting up. At the very least, she could have stuck them in her pocket and gotten rid of them later. They were only batteries.
But this is the attitude that makes Philadelphia the garbage dump it is today. When considering what to do with their trash, some might think one more piece of litter would not make that much of a difference. What does one more cigarette butt, or soda can, or battery matter in a city that’s already a dump?
Philadelphia is indeed a dump. Center City isn’t disgusting, but is far from pristine. Just about every other part of the city is one gigantic eyesore. Riding the train through Southwest Philadelphia every morning, I see mattresses, shopping carts, and enough tires to outfit several 18-wheelers.
Temple is no picnic either. Students litter everywhere from the outskirts of campus to the Bell Tower and Liacouras Walk. These places should look nice and clean, but they seldom do. Sometimes when I walk by the 7-Eleven, although I cannot explain it, I get a whiff of something that smells like an open sewer.
The worst part of Temple being a mess is that it is our school and a home to many students nine months of the year. There is simply no reason for it to be trashed.
There are trashcans everywhere on campus. Whenever I need to throw something away, I’ve never had to walk more than 20 feet to do so. The path from Anderson and Gladfelter to the Bell Tower has an absurd amount of trashcans, more than is probably needed. Although the new smoking regulations are somewhat of a hassle, the University has at least added receptacles for disposing cigarette butts. There are even giant golf cart-mounted vacuum cleaners that roam the camous and pick up the trash that inconsiderate people did not throw away.
So why does campus still look a mess? This problem goes beyond laziness to apathy. It is not that people don’t have the time to put their trash where it belongs. We just don’t care enough about our environment to keep it clean. Take pride in our school and our city, throw away your trash and keep both Temple and Philadelphia from becoming a junkyard.
Torin Sweeney can be reached at Foreverlong7283@yahoo.com.