Tuesday, October 20, 2009

18th Street and Norris Street

"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

While searching Philadelphia for areas in desperate need of being cleaned, a side street right off of North Broad Street in North Philadelphia was discovered. The corner of 18th Street and Norris Street looks as if it is part of a Philadelphia landfill instead of a residential area. Just a simple clean-up can transform this contaminated, unsanitary street into a beautiful neighborhood.

The corner of 18th and Norris, while home to many residents, also has many empty patches of land in which people took it upon themselves to treat as a dumpster. There are numerous black garbage bags thrown nonchalantly in the empty plots of land along with random trash. The accumulation of garbage bags had led this area to be inviting for more trash, causing a vicious never-ending cycle resulting in a dump site. Some of this garbage is even poured into backyards diminishing the amount of space certain families have to enjoy. While 18th and Norris is predominantly a residential area, Carver High School is located only two blocks away from this intersection. Such an abundance of litter so close to a high school does not add to a favorable learning environment for the teens who attend.

In another area there is a mound of wood laid on the ground surrounded with trash. Because of the numerous residents who live next door to this field on 18th and Norris, kids may be in danger if left unattended to play in this area. It is ironic that these wooden beams, tools and materials that people usually associate with construction and rebuilding, are in this case acting in a destructive way; they are a potential danger likely filled with rusty nails and littered with more trash and glass bottles located not far from the backyards of homeowners. Perhaps the area could benefit as a whole and promote community service among the children by putting these materials to good use. The wood could potentially be reused and turned into a large portion of the supplies needed for a project. The now useless wood could be used in a father-son tree-house building event or maybe even part of a future playground or garden. This would serve the purpose of cleaning up the area while teaching kids the value of hard work through a fun and beneficial event.

Not only is the collection of trash infringing on the natural beauty of the area but it also poses as a dangerous threat to those who live nearby. The fact that all of this garbage is found on little plots of land is unsanitary for the residents to be exposed to on a daily basis. In addition, eventually the smell of the accumulated garbage will be unbearable to experience. This neglected garbage can lead to airborne illnesses, or an infestation of animals and insects possibly intruding on the daily life of the residents. Aside from the trash, this area is infested with weeds pushing up public sidewalks adding to the terrible list of hazards this area is enduring.

The neighborhood surrounding 18th and Norris would be much more enticing if the garbage is cleaned up. If carried out, this can be an easy task to pursue since the main problem is the overflow of trash that can easily be picked up. The community would also benefit from transferring the dangerous blocks of wood to a place they belong. If this area is cleaned, walking down the street will be much more aesthetically pleasing to the residents and visitors and a more attractive neighborhood will be created. This land can be used for small picnic locations in the summer months for the residents or play areas for the children. If steps are not taken to clean-up the corner of 18th Street and Norris Street, this area can eventually transform into a makeshift Philadelphia landfill, instead of a neighborhood home to many people.

Blog by Kristin Turner

Photos by Greg Stapleton

1 comment:

  1. Cleaning up an entire community takes some serious time, as opposed to just a small neighbor hood. Especially when its been a well known area and regarded mainly for its use as a dump.

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