2008-06-06 / Letters

A 'Litter'To The Editor

Dear Editor,

Let's face it: the beach at Beach 116 Street will always be a mess at the end of a crowded summer day. Too many visitors seem to think the sand is one giant litter basket, there for their casually discarded cans, bottles, wrappers and leftover food. It is a tribute to the superior work of the cleanup crews that they manage to restore the beach to its pristine beauty early the next morning.

So what to do? Throw up our hands and say "that's just the way it has to be," and wait for Labor Day to bring the restoration of order? Maybe not. Although the problem will never be completely solved, here are two suggestions that may help ease the situation:

Extra Litter Baskets: There are far too few litter baskets placed in far too widely scattered locations. This is especially true in the areas closest to the shoreline, where so many visitors camp out for the day. Even just one extra row of baskets closer to the water will encourage some of the culprits to deposit their refuse in them…and it will remove their excuse that there are no baskets close enough to where they park themselves for the afternoon.

Enforcement: The NYPD and Parks Department are quite diligent in selectively enforcing a handful of the laundry list of beach no-no's posted for all to see (you know what I'm talking about, dog owners); bicycle riders, fishermen and other violators get a free pass. So be it. But how about stricter enforcement of the ban on littering? The uniformed presence of city employees - whose omnipresence on the boardwalk seems to be relatively unnecessary - would do a world of good on the sand. If littering is a punishable offense, then issue a few warnings and write a few tickets. Let's gamble that this may have a deterrent effect.

I'm not a Pollyanna…and I long ago traded in my rose-colored glasses for a more realistic view of human nature and group behavior. But I also believe it's prematurely defeatist to surrender to the thoughtless visitors who despoil our beaches. Remember the Chinese proverb: "It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness."


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