Monday, April 9, 2012

The ugliness of litter

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Nothing makes a city uglier than inordinate amounts of litter and garbage strewn about on streets, in parks and on different properties. I bring the topic up yet again because I spent some of my Easter vacation walking around Oslo together with two friends from New York who were visiting me for the week. It was actually quite appalling, the amount of litter that we saw in different places—paper, plastic wrappings, plastic cups, empty beer and wine bottles, not to mention dog feces and human spit clumps here and there. I’d like to say that it was mostly localized to the center of the city; but that was not true—there was just as much litter in the residential areas that ring the city. I guess it’s time for the annual spring cleaning of the streets and different properties after the long winter, and that may account for why the litter, garbage and feces have not been cleared from the streets, but overall I find it rather sad to consider that a number of people in this city apparently don’t care too much about how their city looks, either to themselves or to visitors. And I really cannot understand this, because the litter and garbage strewn about are ugly, and make the city rather unappealing to look at. We also spent a day walking around the city of Bergen, and the contrast was striking. No litter anywhere—not one piece of paper, empty cup, or empty bottle strewn about. And no spit clumps or dog feces. What’s up, Oslo? Why are there no litter and garbage in Bergen, and so much of it in Oslo? Is it just that Bergen has had its annual spring cleaning of the streets and grounds? I doubt it. It is a beautiful city, and it seems as though its inhabitants want to take care of it and to preserve its beauty. I wish that could be said of Oslo’s inhabitants. I think it’s time to wake up and take a look around, Oslo-ites. This city is also lovely in its own way, and could be even more so if there was no litter. One of the most beautiful areas of Oslo is the Akerselva river that divides the city into east and west; there was even a fair amount of litter along this beautiful waterway. My visitors were left with the impression that Bergen is the prettier city. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to anyone; it matters to me, because Oslo is a pretty city when it is clean.

I also want to make one last comment. Tagging is also ruining the beauty of this city. Graffiti artwork is fine and often very striking and pretty. Tagging is just ugly, and is a type of litter too if you ask me. I don’t know what it will take to make people care again. I don’t have the answers, but perhaps it’s time for some kind of ad campaign to shed light on this problem. 

No comments:

Post a Comment