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Friday, Feb 3, 2023
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Why the Litter Bug Should Bug Us Again

Los Angeles needs to bring back the old black-and-white bug sign. Today, there’s just too much litter and junk around the San Fernando Valley’s surface streets and freeways. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s in the Midwest, I just loved seeing those cute black and white “Don’t Be a Litter Bug” signs along roadways. That insect made an everlasting impression on me. I knew throwing stuff out car windows amounted to a cardinal sin. The litter bug sign, formerly so prevalent on our roads, needs to make a big Valley comeback soon. Today, you can find just about anything discarded by motorists along L.A.’s streets and freeways. Litter bugging is back big time in Southern California in 2015, as I see it. And it does not speak highly of our city and society. Chances are, if you glance outside your vehicle’s windows you’ll see trash all over the place. Paper cups, plates, fast-food wrappers, newspapers and more. Then there are the hundreds of thousands of aluminum beer and soda cans in clear sight and in shrubs pitched by travelers along all major roads. Bud, Coors Light, Coke and Diet Coke seem most prevalent to me. Judging by all those cans out there, commerce appears to be doing just fine in SoCal. Peeking through tinted windows, you’ll see discarded plastic bags and water bottles, too. Occasionally, you will find dirty disposable diapers and even worse. The problem with plastics, according to saynotoplastics.com, is “Every piece of plastic ever produced and not recycled still exists.” That means, unless the plastic is properly removed, it will stay there, not decompose, and outlive us all. Today, there’s so much junk on the shoulders or actually on L.A.’s roads and freeways it’s almost unimaginable. Frankly, I’m just about as frightened of what I might run into on the 101 freeway traveling west at 65 miles an hour than I am of drivers surrounding me and tailgating me. A big fear of mine, and I’m sure for many Angelenos, is to crash into something like plywood, a mattress or porcelain sink displaced by some reckless road warrior who failed to secure his stuff that fell onto lanes of the 5 freeway headed downtown. Just the other day, I saw a cast iron chair left on the 134 freeway’s shoulder, about three feet from motorists. Imagine that collision and possible loss of human life. Starting in 2015, let’s bring back the black-and-white mosquito sign, “Don’t Be a Litter Bug.” Just maybe our Southern California citizens will become more conscious and mindful about littering, and respectful of our otherwise great city. Ted Lux formerly worked at a major investment firm. He is a graduate of UCLA and holds an MBA and has been involved in real estate lending in the Los Angeles area for more than 25 years. He is author of the investment book, “Exposing the Wheel Spin on Wall Street.”

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