There is nothing nastier than finding someone else's trash on your balcony, windowsill, or blown into your apartment. That goes double for cigarette butts, tampons, and other nasty little items.
Oh yes, back in the day I had an apartment with a non-covered balcony and we got presents from the trash fairy on a daily basis.
Here in Rio de Janeiro, people just throw shit out their windows. I have no idea why but they do! It's an amazing phenomenon that happens even more so out of the service area windows which, coincidentally, is where the trash can is normally kept. Not that it really matters in this country. There are very few people who have to walk all the way over to the west wing of their mansion to throw something away.
They just don't do it, and the worst thing they throw are lit cigarette butts. Seriously, not only can a person not keep an ashtray or walk their butts to the trash, they have to throw it out a window still burning. Somehow they do not see the danger in throwing an item that is on fire into a random area.
I personally have had numerous bad experiences where neighbors in my old building would throw lit cigarettes down into the common garden area. My newborn was almost hit with one when we were out getting his morning sun. Needless to say, the building got an earful of my pissed of Portuguese grammar.
It can get even worse. A neighbor of a friend of mine threw a lit cigarette out the window and lit the side of the building and two cars on fire. Classy. Let me explain a bit better. The building has a netting covering the entire outside because of construction being done. A very sharp and wise person threw a lit cigarette out of the window anyway. The netting caught on fire and then spread to the cars. Since the cars were parked illegally, and their insurance won't cover it, the owners are now suing the building.
All this because someone could snuff their smoke out and walk it to the trash.
And it's not just cigarettes. I have seen candy wrappers, personal notes, empty toothpaste tubes, dirty diapers, and used tampons/pads. Not only have I seen this done, I also had the lovely personal experience of cleaning these things off the balcony in my old building. Needless to say, they were not pleased when I taped all of the above to a piece of cardboard and mounted it in the elevator.
I don't know why I can't seem to make friends with people in buildings where I live...
Anyway, I'm just here to say I don't get it. I don't get not throwing your crap away. Then again, when I lived with my brother-in-law he used to put his trash on the kitchen table instead of in the trash. The kitchen table that was literally 2.5 feet from the trashcan. It's inexplicable!
It makes me think that this is a cultural phenomenon. But how on Earth did it get started? While I know that the city of Rio de Janeiro only started to really take care of the street trash issue about 10 years ago, why is it taking so long to clean up this nasty habit?
What do you guys think? Is this all over Brazil or just in Rio de Janeiro? How do you think a habit like this gets started in the first place?