A few weeks ago, as I started my journey home from work at Grand Central, I happened upon a newspaper graveyard. Strewn about a staircase on Park Ave. between 42nd and 41st Sts. were the remains of the day’s free newspapers. These papers are generally left in stacks by this entrance, and that day, a gust of wind, an impish passer-by or the comings and goings of harried straphangers led to a mess.
Of course, these discarded newspapers are not a particularly rare sight in the subway system. The MTA has, for years, railed against the litter amNew York and Metro supposedly create, and the authority has implemented various PSA campaigns designed to combat the trash. Now that the presence of even garbage cans are being debated, I’m sure the issue of newspaper-related littler will bubble up again.
Over in London, the Underground is in fact engaging in a new campaign to combat litter as well. “Customers don’t always think of newspapers as rubbish when they are on a train or at a station. Leaving coffee cups, fast food packaging or newspapers on trains can lead to these items getting stuck in doors or falling on the track. By taking their litter with them or putting it in the bin passengers can help us run the Tube more smoothly and improve reliability,” Gareth Powell, Director of Strategy and Service Development for London Underground, said. “This new litter campaign is asking people to dispose of their rubbish in a bin so it can be recycled, minimising delays for the millions of people that use the Tube a day. This will also make the Tube cleaner and more pleasant for everybody.”
According to Transport for London statistics, newspapers were responsible for 97 delay-causing incidents over the past year, and the Underground is installing recycling bins for the papers throughout the system. Our MTA prefers to sort out recyclables during the post-collection process.
It doesn’t appear as though the free papers or the MTA’s litter will be going away any time soon. But I’ll keep reading my news via iPad apps in the morning. That is, at least, something I take with me when I leave my train station each day.