Dear PoP – This is Why We Need an Anti-Littering Campaign

“Dear PoP,

I got an email last night on an anti-littering campaign being rolled out.

Then, this morning, I snap a video of a lady in a DC Office on Aging van littering right in front of my house.

Not a problem like stabbings or shootings…”

But still def. a problem, personally I find this behavior maddening. I feel like we also need a serious education campaign to take place in DC public elementary schools.

102 Comment

  • haha, she put on a bib after littering.

  • That my be my favorite video ever.
    I talked to an officer once though who told me throwing things from a car is a crime, just not throwing it on the ground while walking (that is still ok).

  • In her defense, I’m sure she doesn’t do that on her block.

    • Ha…not true. See my reply below.

    • I’m nearly sure she does.

      But thanks to the OP–this video gave me my first real laugh of the day.

      BTW, not exactly a “littering” situation, but our neighbor has left a large pile of garbage near our alley since Sunday. Contacted DPW to see if it was scheduled for bulk pickup–nope–but they got back with me eight minutes later and said they’d send an inspector! I can’t get a garbage can, but maybe I can get an inspector!

  • See, I want to say that I’m going to find where these people live and start putting my garbage in their yards, but based on the people who litter and live on my street, it may actually be an improvement.

    They have no respect for themselves or their property so I’m not surprised that they have no respect for public space.

    Where I come from, people are poor, but they are proud of what they do have and they take care of their homes and neighborhoods.


    • gotryit

      OP here. I did, actually right before sending it to PoP. See, I was mad first, then saw the humor and sent it to PoP.

      I do have to give props to my Lauren McKenzie (1B09) and Jim Graham for forwarding it promptly to the head of the agency.

      • gotryit

        edit: “my ANC commissioner Lauren…”

      • Bravo. I hope she gets canned.

      • When I complained to Jim Graham about a garbage truck driver peeing in my alley, he sent it straight to William Howland, head of DPW. Howland responded within a couple of days and promised to discipline the driver. What form that will take, I do not know, but CM Graham seems to thrive on this kind of thing.

      • The sad thing is, she won’t even have any idea that she did anything wrong.

        It reminds me of the scene from Mad Men, where the Draper family is sitting on a beautiful hillside out in the rolling country. They’re on a blanket, having a picnic, and it’s just such a bucolic tableau.

        Then they all pile into the car, and Draper just grabs the blanket, and shakes it, leaving trash strewn all over the ground. Middle-class kids were brainwashed with the Crying Indian PSAs during the 60s and 70s, but a lot of folks just missed out on that completely.

  • What a pig.

    I used to have neighbors like this. Never cleaned up after their dogs, to the point that neighbors complained to our landlord about the smell (and this was in northern NJ!) Not one thought in their heads about the person next to them, completely content to live in their own shit. I will never understand this behavior. Please send this video to the police, or somebody.

  • Cigarette smokers tossing their butts are the worst. I clean up more butts in front of my house than any other type of trash. It seems deeply ingrained in cigarette smoking culture that it’s perfectly acceptable to toss butts on the ground.

    • agreed. I don’t understand why smokers would think it’s okay under any circumstances whatsoever to litter their butts. this type of littering is much worse for public health than others. many animals: cats, birds, squirrels, dogs, and, hell, even children end up with butts in their mouths and these are extremely toxic to them.

      outside my apt building in logan, upper middle class smokers litter on my front stoop. I think it’s safe to assume they are horrible people and I wonder what other horrible people raised them. 🙂

      • Last week I stood in front of Meridian Pint waiting for my friend in the bathroom. There were 3 people smoking RIGHT NEXT to a skinny cigarette trash can. They finished their smokes then flicked them RIGHT OVER THE TRASH CAN and went back inside. smh

    • It is ingrained, but there are some courteous smokers out there – all the ones that I know purposefully snuff out the ember, then throw the butt into the next trash can they see!

    • I used to be a flicker until my neighbor yelled at me. I am reformed and have found the light.

  • This reminds me— when is the next PoP neighborhood clean up event?

    I hope the DC Office of Aging takes action on this.

    BTW- is she eating a hotdog for breakfast?

    • gotryit

      Stack of pancakes, maybe some eggs too… I kind of wonder if that belonged to an old person seeing as how the van said “Home Delivery Meals” on it.

  • I have never seen such fastidious condiment application.

    Funny video, but I kept waiting for her to toss a big item out the window.

  • She is demonstrating excellent parking skills as well.

  • Aargh, taxpayer-funded DC employee has the van halfway out in street blocking traffic, engine probably idling, eating possibly while not on an official lunch break, and throwing what looks like ketchup packets out the window onto the street, disgusting! I frequently wish we had draconian Singapore-style quality of life laws, regarding littering, public urination, and graffiti. A good caning or two would be more of a deterrent than the slim chance of getting a $50 ticket.

    • Alas, not even there. Just got back from Singapore – the mess (left by people partying outside) on the bridges in the early morning is unreal. The difference now is that by 7am it is spotless again.

  • I had the misfortune of sitting on a jury in a trial of the former head of the Office of Aging for corruption. A more absurd comedy of errors and morons would be hard to imagine.

  • I thought only people with Maryland plates litter from their cars! At least that’s what I’ve read here.

    • That’s a low-level DC public employee–so there’s about a 90% chance she’s a Maryland resident.

  • I remember being in Dupont once, and I saw a woman with her son. The kid threw a candy bar wrapper on the ground, and the woman said, “Pick that up! You’re not allowed to do that like where we live.” I will admit that her sentence was less eloquent and more profanity-laden than my retelling, but the general statement is accurate.

  • Teenagers loitering outside my neighbor’s house last night left my pup a present on the sidewalk: two dozen chicken bones.

    Loitering laws would help much more than littering fines. MPD would at least be able to curtail illegal drug use. Marijuana is still illegal, right?

  • My boss used to say that he would always take handouts from folks at the metro and promptly throw it on the ground. Claimed it provided employment opportunities for low income folks on both fronts (the handouter and the gutter cleaners). The District is signatory to the region’s Trash Treaty isn’t it??

  • I can deal with the butts. I can’t stand the fucking assholes who clear the trash out of thier cars in to the street curbing and gutters.

    This will get the good ol’ hes a racist argument going, but why is it I only see african american’s and latino’s doing this? I just don’t get it.

    • I think it’s because in DC, a majority of the white population exists in the middle and upper classes while a majority of the african american and latino populations exist in the lower class. I honestly don’t think it’s a racial thing but rather a class thing. I’m sure if you go where there’s a high white trash contingent, you’ll see white people littering just the same.

      All of that said, there’s no reason for it. Like I posted earlier, where I’m from the poor people have both self respect and respect for the public in general.

      • So true about the poor whites.

        Go to a really poor part of Appalachia, and you’ll see how people just dump old appliances and tires off of hills into the beautiful forests. I think some poor people feel like they have no incentive to give a shit… or maybe they’re pissed off for being so poor that they think trashing stuff will make them feel better.

      • Absolutely true. Poor (and working-class) folks in the country litter too, but they usually do it in (surprise) rural areas. Love going for a hike up above Fredrick and seeing nothing but old rusted refrigerators, broken TVs, and the remains of dead deer. Thanks guys! True stewards of the land.

    • Actually, I think it’s socio-economic; if you grew up appreciating nice things, you are less likely to do this.

      Which always surprises me when I see poor people trashing other people’s nabes, but I guess maybe they figure that if they can’t have nice things, nobody should. I assume it’s some sort of jealousy thing. Also, knowing that it will get white people all worked up is probably part of it.

    • [i]why is it I only see african american’s and latino’s doing this?[/i]
      Because you don’t get out much? Believe me, poor whites and poor every other kind of people are just as likely to trash up their surroundings.

    • Because you are ignorant. I have personally busted on rich white teenagers for littering in Glover Park. Get over yourself.

      • Indeed. Having grown up in the shadow of some of South Florida’s most ridonkulously wealthy neighborhoods, I can tell you that class isn’t about income any more than it’s about skin color. It’s a mindset, a lifestyle choice. Sure, the outward manifestations may vary from cultural group to cultural group, but the bottom line is that, from yesterday’s Zoo stabber to Bernie Madoff, a lowlife is a lowlife is a lowlife.

        BTW, the school education campaign idea is an excellent one. Not only are young children teachable, they can actually apply a surprising amount of “peer pressure” on their parents–talk about a force multiplier effect.

  • Try living near Cardoza High School. Those kids don’t give a sh*t and just drop trash everywhere.

    I think Columbia Heights has to be the worst neighborhood for trash on the streets.

    • Yeah Cardoza was always terrible when I lived down the block. The kids don’t care. My wife once threw an empty soda bottle back at a group of kids that littered it and shouted “you dropped something!”

    • Students should be forced to pick up trash as part of a community service project – it might make them think twice about throwing trash on the ground if they know there’s a possibility they’ll have to pick up later.

  • Too bad they didn’t enact the littering fine on Easter Monday. Cops could’ve filled the DC coffers by handing tickets out at the zoo. I wish I had taken pictures… it was a disaster.

  • Is there really no crime against littering?

    That’s insane. I mean WTF DC. It should be $250 for fist offense and graduated higher afterward.

    • I don’t even want to know what a “fist offense” is, but $250 sounds a bit steep for one. I’ve heard you can get Around the World for 50 bucks in some parts of town!

  • I was walking near the Building Museum at 5th & G Sts downtown yesterday morning when I saw a meter reader on a segway chuck a wad of crumpled paper on the sidewalk like it was no big deal. I was astonished.

  • i was on the 92 bus on capitol hill when some woman tossed a papercup out of the window, like it was how she usually got rid of trash. i’m a child of the 70s. i remember the crying indian and woodsy owl. how can people STILL litter/pollute? WTF? i was incensed. wanted to throttle her right there and then, or call her out, but realized i would probably get the worst of it. bus drivers don’t care.

  • I am glad to see so many other people upset by the litter. It enrages me. I think the “Don’t Be a Litter Bug” campaign should make a comeback…

  • I called out to a woman in front of whole foods on P street that she had dropped some papers. As I picked them up for her, I realized it was just litter she that had just tossed on the ground. I said, dropping them into the trash can , “Jeez, there’s a trash can RIGHT HERE.” She came quickly to stand 1/2″ from my face and said “If you don’t get out of my fucking face, I’m going to go in my car, get my gun, and I’m going to shoot you.” I snapped a quick photo of her license plate as she drove away and called the cops. The officer’s response was to lecture me about the error of me “correcting grown people…See, they don’t like that, especially with racial elements and all.” It took some doing, but I eventually re-focused his attention to the crime of making a death threat and insisted that he arrest crazy %$#@! They found her and hauled her in. Detectives came to my house so I could identify her from a line up of mug shots. Maybe they’ll teach litter etiquette in prison between her anger management class and psych meds.

    • Is that you Frankie James?

    • srsly? rly? YOU got a lecture? what a great police force we have. Someone threatens someone with a gun, and the nmighty mighty popo give a race lecture.

      wooot for them.

    • lol, awesome. i love it when criminals announce they have illegal weapons.

    • holy sh*t. she didn’t happen to be driving a light blue sentra, did she?

      • I’m serious about this question, btw. a friend had an encounter a week ago, and I’m about to be scared if there are more than one of these psycho women roaming the city.

    • Dude, I think I’ve met this woman. She grazed me while I was on my bike when she drifted into the bike lane on 14th Street. Then she began to scream at me for “touching” her car, threatened to stop her car, get her gun, and shoot me, and told me that “just because [I] was white I thought I could do anything I wanted” (presumably meaning biking in the bike lane while she was texting or whatever and drifting lanes???). Anyway, she scared the shit out of me and I did not get her license plate before she drove away.

  • Turn this over to MPD!

    • gotryit

      I did:

      “Great question, however, a police officer has to observe the violation and currently there is no process to seek a warrant on a traffic ticket. I would recommend that you forward the video to the Office on Aging so they can address their employee’s behavior.

      Jacob Kishter
      Metropolitan Police Dept.
      Third District”

      It’d be nice if they could nab someone, but probably kind of big-brother creepy like Minority Report.

      We’ll see what the DC Office on Aging does.

  • OP,

    Just curious… did you have a feeling something video-worthy was about to happen? What made you capture this?

    • I was about to ask the same thing. While the littering is infuriating, the video is kinda creepy without an explanation for it.

    • gotryit

      I looked twice because of the way the van was idling there a couple of feet from the curb. I’ve also never seen that van in the neighborhood before.

      I shot the video after she had already tossed a couple of things out of the window.

  • We are far too tolerant of lawlessness and lenient on scofflaws in this city.

    I think a $75 fine is not an enduring deterrence.

    Littering scofflaws should be sentenced to serve on a street sweeping crew for a week.

    That may have a more profound effect on future behavior.

  • Send this tape to the Mayor.

    If she does it there so causually she is doing it all over the city.

  • As a former Adams Morgan dweller, I would really like to see a law defining putting flyers (mostly for clubs you’ve never heard of) under people’s windshield wipers as littering. (And I guess making littering illegal?)

    They are trash to 99% of people who get them, so they’re trash. And as trash, car owners complete the final step and throw them in the street.

    • Same here. it ultimately all ends up on the streets. Jumbo slice boxes as well. Every sunday the street is littered with pizza boxes, paper plates, foil, and promotional flyers. This in itself is compounded by the fact that my particular street doesn’t have a street sweeping schedule.

    • Good question. if i turn on my windshield wiper and the flyer blows off onto the foot of an officer, who’s responsible? Me for causing it to fly off the car, or the flyer-placer who left it there?

  • I feel the same way about take-out menus. They just leave them on the doorstep, where the wind picks them up and scatters them around.
    And, I have to collect a pile of them every couple weeks from the sludge at the bottom of my exterior basement stairwell, because the person distributing them assumes it’s an apartment and just leaves them at the bottom of the (non-working) door. Ugh.

    • I wish there is some law to prevent this. I fear that my basemenet will flood because of the take out menus blocking the drain.

    • I get the same takeout menu from the same place twice a week. Is that really necessary?

  • When I was surveying at Mayfair Mansion I saw a metro access driver drop off an old lady. Then he threw his 40 into the street.

    In his defense, he only litters when drunk.

    I am also amazed to watch DC residence go out of their way to throw trash into a storm grate when a can is not 50 feet away.

    May God Bless this fine city.


      • i’m glad they did it. and people like this should stop littering. and confronting people in this town is often too dangerous.

        so fuck off dude.

      • gotryit

        Actually, I did walk out and confront her right after. She played dumb at first, then said that it doesn’t matter because “there’s trash all up and down the block”.

        Her character sucks anyway – obese woman eating a big nasty (I think McD’s) breakfast and throwing crap on the street. She’s the nasty one.

        P.S. Press the Caps Lock key one more time – it’ll make you sound like slightly less of an idiot. Slightly.

        • yes it does i know her personally sad to say that’s what she get cause her attitude really stink…maybe next time she will think b4 she do something like that. can you say FIRED!!!!

  • Suggested anti-litter campaign slogan:
    Don’t litter – it’s a Capital offense!


    • you don’t sound well. people get upset by burglary too “the dude”. and nearly everyone place break-ins as a worse crime that litter.

      this video doesn’t change that. the thing is that no one accepts burglary as acceptable. but people do accept litter as acceptable, so it makes it more frustrating, because not only do we fight to have a clean city, but we also fight the mentality, seemingly like yours, that there is nothing wrong with littering.
      also, hit the caps lock button.

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