At Ground Level

Shortly into my routine walk around the neighbourhood yesterday, I became unhappily aware of considerably more litter than “usual”.  This is a hot button for me and I believe it speaks volumes about the people who think it’s ok to carelessly discard their trash.

My first thought – unfairly – was that it was the result of school having resumed a few weeks ago.  Then it occurred to me that it might be a function of the time of year, independent of the resumption of classes.

There is a belief that the first piece of litter tossed on the ground increases the propensity for more litter to follow.  Well, it’s autumn in Canada, and Mother Nature herself is tossing her unwanted into the wind to fall where it may.  Is it possible that nature’s litter is inadvertantly providing tacit approval for others to do the same?


The more I walked, the more obsessed I became with the detritus at ground level.

There were the ubiquitous coffee cups from Tim Horton’s – an unfortunate sight familiar to every Canadian.


I found reminders of my status as a minority within my neighbourhood.


Items that were likely dropped unintentionally and probably missed at some point by their owner.


When will Toronto’s transit system finally discontinue use of paper transfers that frequently end up tossed on the ground?


Then there were signs of vandalism. Is it possible that someone was making a political statement by knocking down numerous campaign posters for the upcoming federal election?  I feel their frustration.


… and I’m not going to even begin to guess what this might mean.


“I’ve always wanted to send a message in a bottle, with my message saying something like, “Don’t litter.”
Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE


About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Attitude, Nature, Outdoor Stuff, Random Stuff and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to At Ground Level

  1. jannatwrites says:

    I see nature’s litter differently than than people’s litter. What nature leaves behind breaks down and returns to earth. Not so much the case with the cups, papers and whatever else gets tossed on the ground. I tell my kids that if everyone threw their trash wherever they wanted we’d be wading through waist-deep filth.


  2. Mrs. P says:

    Interesting comparison about the increase in litter coinciding with the falling of leaves. I hate litter, too!


  3. Lael says:

    I live in Edmonton, where the Wind blows things left lying about by others into big piles against fences and the like. It’s not so noticeable in the Summer and Fall but it really makes Winter and Spring feel that much worse. Yuck!


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  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Joanne – litter is awful – I sometimes feel I live in a third world country as the litter swirls around me on the pavements in the town – let alone the suburban streets … foul. I cry foul. I really must get out and pick some up … a note on my daily list … the few are very irresponsible and thoughtless. Cheers Hilary


  6. treerabold says:

    I find myself frustrated with litter and people that think it is an ok thing to do. I have no idea why people can’t find a trash can or hold onto their trash until they can throw it away.
    I took a short walk in a park today that I had never been in….there was so much trash I returned to the car…sad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      Oh my! You mean inconvenience people with the expectation that they clean up after themselves?!! :/

      Unfortunately, as we know, common sense, mutual respect, etc seem to be in short supply.


  7. Corina says:

    My daughter takes down license plate numbers and pulls over to call the 800 number for letting and turns people in. Sometimes she snaps a picture instead of taking down the license number. She hangs on to them in case someone denies it. We really don’t like littering!


    • joannesisco says:

      That’s a great idea with a dash camera. I don’t know about other jurisdictions, but driving with a hand-held mobile device isn’t legal in Ontario. The fines and loss of points can be substantial – even if the car isn’t moving.

      I don’t know if there is a similar 800 number available to us. I should look into it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Who does that??? I had it drilled into my head at a very young age not to throw litter on the ground. I don’t think it would be physically possible for me to do that as an adult.


  9. Sue Slaght says:

    I detest littering Joanne. One of my big pet peeves .You know what makes my eye twitch? A smoke throwing a cigarette on the ground, or out the car. Smoking is still a legal right but littering is not.


  10. How disappointing for your walk. Mother Nature has an excuse to litter, nobody else does.

    The Middle Son mentioned the other night the rarity of public rubbish bins in Tokyo and yet the streets are clean. There’s just an understanding that you take your rubbish with you. (Well, plus it’s rude to eat while walking minimising the need for a rubbish bin anyway.)

    Disposable coffee cups (along with the pods from those coffee pod machines) are a huge waste problem. There’s a coffee chain here that will give you a disposable cup whether you have it there or take it away. I’ve never understood that. I try to either drink my coffee in-house (as long as they offer washable cups) or I use a Keep Cup if I want a take away coffee.


    • joannesisco says:

      What a concept! … take your garbage with you and dispose of it when you are able. Why does common sense often appear to be not so common?

      I keep a small plastic container in my car with a lid for my garbage. Like you, I prefer a reusable cup if I need a take-away coffee. I’m proud that my sons – like us – use refillable canteens for water rather than disposal plastic bottles.

      Everyone can make a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. bikerchick57 says:

    I could never understand why someone would drop paper, a cup, anything on the ground. There are garbage receptacles in your home, in the stores, at gas stations, pretty much anywhere you go. There’s no reason or excuse other than laziness.


  12. Alex Hurst says:

    Boo to the litter. 😦 With the first picture, I thought it was just going to be a punchline about nature littering leaves. Sad to see it really was litter in the “flesh.”


  13. Just wait until we don’t have home delivery and are forced to get our mail at the superboxes, or whatever they are going to call ’em. People will simply discard their unwanted letters at the base of the unit and leave it for the wind to carry it off.


  14. mickscogs says:

    Here in Victoria, the public can book a litterer from a car. Only problem with that is you have front up in court if they challenge the fine. Most people don’t hence we have a huge litter problem. I am particularly obsessive with cigarette butt chuckers, being a victim of fire. I follow them to ensure they don’t chuck the butt out the window. Cigarette butts are big problem in our Bay as well as they contain many toxins.


    • joannesisco says:

      I could definitely go for being a vigilante on this issue … especially if I could use a cattle-prod on repeat offenders!
      After your fire drama, I could see why you would be so concerned about cigarettes. It baffles me why people think it’s ok to toss those little toxic bombs anywhere and everywhere.


  15. Su Leslie says:

    Someone once told me that the way to create a more sustainable world is to start with waste. If people are forced to confront and dispose of (at real cost) the waste products of their life, then they will be much more careful about what the consume. It makes sense to me. Like you, I hate litter and still sometimes pick things up, catch up with the person who dropped it, and very sweetly tell them they’ve dropped something. But I do it less these days as I get older and people are as likely to be angry as shamefaced. It drives me crazy that people can get away with dumping appliances and electronics which are hugely toxic at the landfill for very little cost (if they don’t just drive out to the country and throw it on the side of the road), but when I choose to get rid of stuff responsibly, it costs a fortune to take it to the recycling companies.


    • joannesisco says:

      Oh Su, I could do an entire blog post on the abandoned cars, appliances, tires, etc we found during our hiking of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail. I remember this one beautiful valley in particular that was covered in tires. Like you, I’m appalled at this behaviour. Ever since Toronto started imposing user fees on ‘additional’ garbage that won’t fit in the bins provided, it is common to see bags of garbage thrown on the side of the road. It makes me crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Su Leslie says:

        That is really appalling. I heard recently of a couple who bought a large block of land here which was covered with native bush that they wanted to protect. When they started walking through it, they found hundreds of tyres left there. It looked as though their land had been a long-term dump for tyres and other rubbish. It was going to cost them a fortune to clean it up. I felt so sad that these good people who were actively trying to protect our natural environment should have to deal with such a horrible, expensive issue.


  16. LIke you already know; close to my place. you’ll find sofas, ovens, bags full of garbage, sleeping junkies, etc, etc.


  17. I have a couple blocks of country road I frequent and it makes me sick what people leave by the roadside, in the ditch, or along the pavement. I also recall how people used to empty their car ashtrays in parking lots. Where is country or even city pride? 😦 ❤


  18. There’s a patch of grass next to the bridge on-ramp that I take home from work where people toss their litter all the time. They know nobody will do anything about it because everyone’s trying to get on the bridge and you can’t exactly stop to tell them off, so they just crack the window and pitch out their Timmy’s cup or receipts or napkins or whatever else was apparently so cumbersome to keep in their car that they couldn’t possibly take it home and throw it out properly. Drives me crazy.

    And then there are people who walk their dogs in our neighborhood, bag the poop, and then…just leave it there. I don’t get it. You’ve already accomplished the gross part, is it really so hard to hang onto the bag afterward until you find a trash can?


  19. Paula says:

    People are a mystery to me, seriously.


  20. I continue to be mystified by litter and wonder if the litterers think about or care who is going to pick it up…but I think it’s worse than it used to be. I will pickup litter left by others when out in the wilder areas like the Bruce Trail although I’m pleased to say you don’t come across it that often. Tim Horton litter is a real blight – you’d think they should be made responsible for part of it somehow. Then there are water bottles…okay think I’ll stop now since I feel like a cranky old lady!! Nature can litter all she wants though since her litter brings us life.


  21. NancyTex says:

    Littering is one of my biggest peeves. I just don’t understand how anyone thinks it’s okay.


  22. Ach! I just hate littering. For a while we lived in a bad neighborhood and always noticed that there was more litter around than anywhere I had ever lived and I always just thought it was breeding a vicious circle. I would definitely beware of that last bit of sidewalk graffiti! Looks like a gang symbol to me! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I walk every day with our dogs and trash on the ground drives me nuts as well. I have to watch out all the time to make sure the dogs don’t sniff on something that could be harmful. I often wonder how peoples homes look. I don’t think you can be neat and clean at home and change your behavior as soon as you leave. People just don’t care anymore and all the plastic cups, paper wraps and Styrofoam to go boxes don’t make it easier.


  24. Lynn says:

    I share your pain Joanne. As I drive along the 401 to work each morning, I see numerous people tossing litter out their car windows. I usually try to pull up beside them & give them the “are you kidding me” glare! We live in such a beautiful country. It is up to us to keep it that way!


    • joannesisco says:

      I’ve had people swear at me and make snide remarks when I point out that they’ve dropped something.
      I’ve decided it’s no longer a safe thing to do … but I’ve seen some very well-dressed and put-together people who carelessly toss their trash. Definitely not classy.


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