The Laneway Solution

There’s a problem with the laneway near home which has caused me a lot of grief. It’s the laneway I’ve walked through at least twice a day for the last twenty-five years.

At first, there was a problem with people pissing in the laneway. More recently, there was a problem with litter.

At the centre of my most recent concerns has been the “littering” of the wonderful art project, Village Voices by Astra Howard. Astra is a mate, and I have loved the tireless work she has done to bring the voices of people of my neighbourhood into a public art space. The variety of words and ideas expressed has been wonderful. I will often see people stand in moments of contemplation reading the words, and often taking selfies with the sign.

The latest work is by a young girl who goes to the nearby school.

In the last couple of years, people have begun to use the “shelf” below the work as a place to leave coffee cups, in preference to walking a few metres down the road to use the garbage bin. I mean, it’s not that far!

Thanks to the lockdown, there hasn’t been too much of a problem recently.

The problem has also been reduced, thanks to the change in the outside seating arrangements of the restaurant next door.

But in the last few weeks, the problem has re-emerged.


Previously, I’ve taken a more proactive approach to things. Previously I’ve spoken to the nearby restaurant owners, and have asked them to take more care about how they deal with their waste.

More recently, I’ve taken a new approach. I’m now just removing the cups from the shelf and putting them on the ground, so it becomes a “litter problem”, not a problem of “placement”. 

As the local restaurants won’t be more proactive, I’ve decided it’s something for the City of Sydney.

Yeah I know, all pretty pointless. But let’s see if this approach works.

4 Replies to “The Laneway Solution”

  1. Or you could just put them in the bin yourself – think of it as the David Sedaris approach.

    I realise that hardly seems like a satisfactory solution.

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