So you think litter is someone else’s problem?
- Credit: PA
Opinion: So litter is something that someone else does? Maybe it's time we all had a good hard look at ourselves first, says Sharon Griffiths
Want to save taxpayers £800 million a year? Then take your rubbish home.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom has just announced a new crackdown on litter louts. So there'll be more bins, more prosecutions, bigger fines. It might help.
The trouble is that there's no logic to litter. Why people leave stuff where they do is really weird.
I know exactly how long it takes for a driver to eat a Big Mac from where the empty boxes have been flung out of a car in the lanes near us. But the mattress in a field gateway – why has someone driven miles and then suddenly chosen that gateway? Presumably in the dark so they won't be spotted. Wouldn't it be easier to go to the council tip?
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Then there are some owners who dutifully clean up after their dogs, tie the mess into a bag – and hang it from a tree. Why? They've done the dirty bit, so why pretend it's some sort of decoration? Am I the only one to find that really bizarre?
People who climb to wild and wonderful deserted places, presumably go to all that physical effort because they love the unspoilt beauty of the place. Then leave their rubbish behind. Tucking your empty bottles and crisp packets under a rock doesn't count - it's still rubbish and it's still there. Presumably you've dragged all that stuff here in a backpack, now most of it is inside you, the least you can do is take the empties back.
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If a small child dug up a mouldering nappy on a beach, then parents would be outraged. So why do they think it's alright to bury their child's nappy for others to find? It's what nappy bags are for. Your child. Their poo. Deal with it. Or stay at home until they're toilet-trained..
But a lot of littering is just idleness. People are too lazy to look for a bin. And I guess that even in Utopia late night drunks are never going to take their pizza boxes home with them.
Litter is catching. Once one person has dropped some rubbish, it somehow makes it acceptable for everyone else to do and before long we're ankle-deep in muck. Yuck. People just accept it. Are we so lacking in self-respect?
The bill for dealing with litter is largely avoidable. In these straitened times we'd think we had plenty of better things to do with £800 million a year than clear up after those too idle to clear up after themselves.
But of course, that doesn't mean you, does it?