Thursday, September 01, 2005

Swept Away.

As I walked into work today, I saw a street sweeper or "disinfectant wagon" drive by. I had noticed the sorry, polluted state of the street before the sweeper approached. It was incredible. The sweeper passed, what with it's 10 rotating brushes, and picked up next to none of the garbage. "What a fantastic use of taxpayer dollars," I thought.

In fact, I've never seen a street sweeper that's really effective at picking up garbage. They usually just brush all the garbage to the curb. What the hell?

Ever the investigator, I decided to look into the street sweeping craze in every city. Apparently street sweeping may help reduce air and water pollution. Another article reinforced this notion. In fact, street sweepers are often designed to pick up small particulates. The big trash is just gravy.

I'm still skeptical. Considering vehicular cost ($200,000 for a new wagon) and the cost of a person to drive it, are street sweepers really an effective use of taxpayer dollars?

7 Comments:

Blogger Lily said...

Sure it is. It's just another way to fine you when you block street cleaning. In my childhood hometown of Somerville they now fine you $30 for blocking street cleaning. Next door in Cambridge they will tow your ass, which will cost you about $70.

9:36 AM  
Blogger FantasticAlice said...

Yeah, they may, kinda, sorta, almost, to an extent, maybe, partially, quasi, reduce pollution.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Have you ever been standing near a street sweeper and made the mistake of trying to breathe? Reducing particulates my left foot! Maybe when they are new, but at some point they just become gigantically expensive leaf blowers

1:37 PM  
Blogger mindful said...

Also considering vehicular cost, how much extra could it be to design in a little thing to catch the bigger trash? I can't imagine that it would add more than 10% to the cost. And it would certainly make life more pleasant for everybody.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

After they get done with the street, they turn into a zamboni and head for the closest ice skating rink.

6:19 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

Ok, my mother actually bought one several years ago (to use to clean the parking lot at her work and charge them $300 a month.) They "can" work but too much friction with the ground will obviously wear down the bristles which would cost someone to replace. I'm figuring that they lower them just enough to disturb dust but not enough to grab stuff and increase the need to replace bristles. Most are probably trying only to lower them enough to look like they work.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I guess it is right up there with the government paying $300 for a screwdriver...

9:30 PM  

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