Sky Litter

The old copper wires are obsolete and dead, but they’re still hanging overhead tempting a tall truck or storm to tear them down. For the last hundred years or so utilities have been adding more and more wires without removing the old ones. These unsightly overhead wires are an urban blight, a kind of pollution that the utility companies are not required to clean up. In fact, they’ve never even been asked.

Compared to the wire-free suburbs of Los Angeles, where the utilities are underground, New York neighborhoods look scarred. Property values and aesthetics sacrificed for the convenience of big telecom.

People talk about air pollution, water pollution, and even light pollution, but you ever heard anybody raise this important environmental issue of overhead wire pollution?

Landlines are going away permanently. Cable TV is moving to wireless streaming. When will our streets go wireless?

Useless wires are debris. We wouldn’t let contractors leave them lying on the ground so why are they allowed to leave them in the air? Seriously, is industrial waste OK as long as it’s above our heads or attached to a building?

Utilities are given the right of way to use public space and string wires for the public good, and they make money from it. The price of that accomodation should be a responsibility to return the public spaces to their former condition when the wires are no longer needed.

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