Plants as Trash Deterrent?

A staple in both landscaping and urban planning is adding a natural element in an otherwise human-made environment. Depending on the budget, it could be a fountain to provide a water element; or it could be as simple as adding plants along sidewalks. In places all over, we have seen good and bad implementations of these natural elements, but the most common perhaps is the latter — plants.

Exhibit A

People have concluded that this plant box (and many others) is where to place their trash. A dead shrub remains standing, with the help of another dead wood, in spite of its fate. Whether garbage caused it to die, we cannot verify. But surely, single-use plastics have better places to go, and better forms to be, i.e. in their original state as fossil fuel deep beneath the earth, untouched and unprocessed by human greed.

A plant box on a sidewalk, littered with garbage

Since when did we begin to mistake these for garbage bins?

Exhibit B

On a different location, owners of a nearby hardware store populated a similar plant box with many potted plants on the base of the trunk. It is aided by a sign, as if the greens themselves warn passers-by. In English, “No Trash Here. Fine of Php 2000, or Jail Time. -Ordinance by City Hall” The ordinance part seems sketchy, but who are we to speculate over such matter?

A plantbox on a sidewalk, with small potted plants covering its base

Plants discourage pedestrians from littering in the box; it’s never the warning sign.

Can we then conclude that plants can be used as natural deterrent against environment trashers?

However, several days after taking the pictures above, plant boxes on exhibit A and B are sadly no more. No thanks to the local government unit’s clearing operations, neither plants nor their boxes survived. We wouldn’t have really known if they’re trash deterrent. -o)-

Concrete and soil debris where a plant box used to be

Clearing operations in favor of pedestrians?

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