Dirt that's not properly disposed off [litter?]

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Lun-14

Banned
Hindi
Hi

Sweepers in India sweep the dirt off from streets/roads. (See this) I wonder if this dirt (which is not thrown in the proper place and keeps lying around. Sometimes it's blown around by the wind.) can be called 'litter'? I think not, because, to my knowledge, "litter" contains things that aren't properly disposed off, e.g. plastic cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags, wrappers, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, cigarette butts, bottle caps etc.

Thanks a lot
 
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Yet there seems to be litter in the picture too and surely dust and dirt are blown from fields, roads, etc. and cannot be "disposed of" easily.
    I think I'd say they "sweep up dust and litter":rolleyes: or do they only sweep up the dust and leave the litter???
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    So you consider this definition of "litter" wrong?
    The dirt which is not thrown in the proper place and keeps lying around is called litter. It's blown around by the wind.
    Whose definition? (As if you didn't know by now that we ask for source.)

    Is there a word fr an OP who offers an opinion, we agree with him/her and then the OP chooses to argue abut it??

    So what's the reason you don't call 'dust' litter? Why is litter litter and why isn't dust litter?
    Could you please explain?
    For the same reason we don't call a pig a duck.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    New York City law requires that residences and businesses keep sidewalks and 18" from the curb free of "litter, debris and sweepings".

    DSNY - About - Cleaning Laws

    The sidewalks (including areas like tree pits, grass strips, etc.) and gutter areas (18 inches from the curb into the street) along the building perimeter must be kept clean. Sweepings must be picked up and deposited in suitable containers for collection.
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    I found the definition in the grade 1 Science book written by a Pakistani author.
    I'm just having trouble understanding why "dust" can't be called "litter"? What's the special thing that makes litter litter?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I found the definition in the grade 1 Science book written by a Pakistani author.
    I'm just having trouble understanding why "dust" can't be called "litter"? What's the special thing that makes litter litter?
    Litter is generally man-made detritus from packaged food or other products. Dust, on the other hand, may be man-made but it is a byproduct of usage. So we can have dust from tire wear, or saw dust, or just ambient dust that settles on things.

    This is litter:


    Here a sponge is clearing dust:

     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    Litter is generally man-made detritus from packaged food or other products. Dust, on the other hand, may be man-made but it is a byproduct of usage. So we can have dust from tire wear, or saw dust, or just ambient dust that settles on things.

    This is litter:


    Here a sponge is clearing dust:

    You mean to say that "dirt" isn't "litter" because dirt isn't man-made while litter is litter because litter is man-made? Do you want to add more into it so that I can understand the reason fully?
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Litter can be put in a trash can to be taken away. If you dug up the dirt from your garden and left it in a trash can to be taken away, people would think you are insane. Some amount of swept up dirt might be in your trash can, but you wouldn't fill a whole can with just dirt.
    Litter is never appropriate. If you moved the litter from the street to your garden, it would still be litter. If you moved the dirt from the street to your garden, it would be soil for your plants.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The Collins entry is pretty clear.

    1. small refuse or waste materials carelessly dropped, esp in public places
    Windblown dust and soil that ends up on a street, eventually to be swept into piles when the street is cleaned, is not called “litter”.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    More simply, you mean to say that "dirt" isn't "litter" because dirt isn't man-made while litter is litter because litter is man-made? Do you want to add more into it so that I can understand the reason fully?

    The following are litter (and are illustrated in the photo posted in post #16)

    • Paper wrappings for take out food
    • plastic and paper cups for beverages
    • Foam coffee take-out cups
    • plastic bottles for beverages
    • aluminum an tin cans for beverages and food
    • other food containers and wrappings
    • cigarette butts
    • etc.

    We generally refer to medical debris separately from "litter" even when it is found on the street. It is usually called "medical waste".

    The same goes for construction debris, including scraps of lumber, siding, roofing etc. We do not usually refer to those as "litter" either, I would call it "construction debris".
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    refer to medical debris separately from "litter" even when it is found on the street. It is usually called "medical waste".
    You don't call it litter.
    The same goes for construction debris, including scraps of lumber, siding, roofing etc. We do not usually refer to those as "litter" either, I would call it "construction debris".
    You don't call it litter either.

    But they both (medical and construction debris) seems litter to me.:rolleyes:

    So my confusion is still there: what special thing makes litter litter? If I am asked to identify litter from a long list of things, how will I do that, i.e. which one is litter and which one isn't?

    And...you didn't address my #19.:)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    You don't call it litter.

    You don't call it litter either.

    But they both (medical and construction debris) seems litter to me.:rolleyes:

    So my confusion is still there: what special thing makes litter litter? If I am asked to identify litter from a long list of things, how will I do that, i.e. which one is litter and which one isn't?

    And...you didn't address my #19.:)
    Which part of this is unclear?
    (Dust and soil are not “dropped carelessly”)
    small refuse or waste materials carelessly dropped

    If someone dropped a used needle in the gutter or dropped some small parts of a demolished building (wallpaper, wood chips) into the gutter, it would be included in litter. If they are in proper containers for collection, and not dropped carelessly, they would not be litter.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    It is time to bring this exhaustive discussion to a close. We can not provide a list of all items or materials that might constitute "litter," any more than we could do for "trash," "garbage," "rubbish," or "debris." The original question of whether dirt and dust are considered to be part of litter has been amply answered. Thank you to all who contributed.

    Florentia52, moderator
     
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