Opinion: The Pentacrest needs more trash cans

The lack of receptacles makes the area around the Old Capitol messier for everyone. 


The Daily Iowan

The Pentacrest in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012.

Mariana Garces, Columnist

I am a member of SCOPE, the student organization in charge of setting up the Homecoming concert. The concert took place in front of the Old Capitol facing toward the Pedestrian Mall. While helping set up for the concert it came to my attention that there is a lack of trash cans where they are the most necessary: in the center of the Pentacrest.

While we were organizing for the concert, some SCOPE members made makeshift trash cans out of used cardboard boxes. The trash cans served for the back stage, whereas the crowd had no trash cans near them to dump their junk in. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when the concertgoers left and the grass in front of the stage was filled with litter.

This concert was not the only time that I saw a littering problem in the center of the Pentacrest. During my transition between classes, it is not difficult to stumble across granola bar wrappers and Dunkin’ coffee cups in the grass.

It is hard not to notice all the trash cans that outline the Pentacrest on every side. There are trash cans facing the Old Capitol Town Center, Ped Mall, and Pappajohn Business Building. Therefore, it seems reasonable that garbage cans surrounding the Old Capitol would not be necessary, but they are.

The heart of the Pentacrest is where most of the pedestrian traffic occurs. Multitudes of students transition between the four buildings and students from other buildings not on the Pentacrest also pass the Old Capitol.

The Old Capitol is the landmark of the University of Iowa, thus it is understandable that adding trash cans near it may ruin its aesthetic. Yet, it would be more presentable for prospective students and current residents to have garbage cans closer to the Old Capitol instead of seeing flying wrappers, cups, and other litter.

It should be self-explanatory that an average citizen would hold onto their trash and wait until they find a trash can to toss it. Yet, it seems that this normal behavior is getting replaced with laziness considering the amount of litter found in the heart of the Pentacrest. Therefore, adding a couple more trash cans near the Old Capitol will be an easy improvement to make for people holding onto their trash for the time it takes them to reach the edge of the Pentacrest.

More trash cans may not solve littering problems on our campus because the answer ultimately lies on civic pride. As students and Iowa City residents, the well-being of our environment and cleanliness of our city is our personal responsibility. An extra trash can may be the catalyst to prevent littering, but it alone will not solve the problem.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.