I don't understand litter. No, really, I don't. Perhaps it is being Canadian that keeps me from fully understanding actively littering. It is bred in us, I swear it. I remember going on a nature walk with my class to find things to make art with. Everyone brought back flowers, leaves, clover, branches, stones and whatever else they found, except one girl, who brought back cigarette butts, chocolate bar wrappers and the like. She made a poster with the trash and she was highly praised for bringing the litter to our attention. Every spring we, as a school, walked around our campus and the neighbourhood to find the garbage that gathered and had lain under the snow all winter before it melted. There was always some, but never to the degree I find in my neighbourhood in Jeonju everyday.
I am sure a lot of it is attitude. Since I was a child it has been pressed upon me that we have beautiful, wonderful nature in Canada and we should not harm it with garbage. Public shaming helps. If you throw something onto the ground people will stare at you and many will comment. Others will pick it up and throw it away. Miss Clark, an elderly woman down my street, walked up Main Street every day picking up any garbage she saw. Heavy fines probably also help. I cannot remember ever throwing things on the streets. Even when we were in high school, and I would sneak a chocolate bar after school or we would go to a movie and get a pizza, we would always drop by a public trash can and drop off the empty box there rather than throw it into the woods on the way home to hide it from our parents. Generally my country is pretty clean.
Is it so difficult to take home your coffee cup, or at least walk with it in your hand to a convenience store and dump it in the garbage there? There are recycling boxes everywhere - is it so hard to carry it there as you pass or take a little detour to one? Every where I walk I see coffee cups lying on the ground and other empty food containers. A sewer grate is not a garbage container, it is for liquids. When I take my garbage bags out there is often a little room on top - go ahead, put it inside, not on top.
I feel sorry for the old people who have to clean up after younger, healthier people who selfishly and carelessly drop their trash everywhere. I tell my students they may bring their drinks to class but they must put their trash in the garbage and if they spill, they must clean it up, not leave it for someone else. I don't know why, if they manage to do it in my classroom, all people can't do this in the world