Why do we let people spoil beautiful Norfolk?

Why don't people take notice of signs like this?. Picture: Chris Bishop

Why don't people take notice of signs like this?. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Litter. Why do people drop it when we live in such a beautiful county?, asks Jimmy Kilsby.

Let's talk about litter.

I am a stern advocate for recycling. Yes it can be confusing (not difficult for many but I'm afraid I am bamboozled by guidelines), I stand religiously at the kitchen sink washing out various packaging, desperately trying to understand what can and can't be recycled in the special bin I've purchased. I meticulously tie the weekly newspapers and their dozens of supplements in tidy organised piles to donate to my next door neighbour's woodburning inventory.

Despite all my efforts, unfortunately, there is an issue that greatly troubles me - LITTER.

So to start - we are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. We proudly boast, and rightly so, about the stunning beaches, sprawling countryside and local wildlife but, regretably, Norfolk, along with the rest of the country, is becoming buried under mountains of litter.

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During the spring and summer months the litter is carefully disguised beneath the undergrowth and you can be forgiven for being unaware of its presence and be wonderfully distracted by the big, open Norfolk skies and the vast landscape beneath.

As soon as you've convinced yourself that the issue simply doesn't exist, being blindsighted by the beauty that surrounds you, the months quickly pass and the winter months creep in. And as the leaves fall from the trees and the vegetation retreats, a very real and gloomy secret rears its ugly head. Countless crisp packets, cans and bottles puncture and burst forth from the hedgerows, plastic bags and cardboard packaging from various fast-food outlets (some of which originate more than twelve miles away from where they are deposited) are scattered in the ditches, riverbanks and kerbside.

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The residents of my little village are a proud bunch. You can often see valiant dog walkers carefully balancing poop bags and holding their dogs on a lead while tentatively bending foward and picking up discarded sweet wrappers and the like.

Once a year, in March, the villagers organise a street clean and with the help of a resident's tractor and trailer a large group of young and old trundle out into the lanes that are the arteries of our little piece of England and collect untold amounts of litter. This is a very special event that proudly displays our wonderful community spirit.

Without wanting to sound like a moany young(ISH) man, it seems that a small percentage of folk who live in the county (maybe visitors travelling through or holidaying) believe it is totally acceptable to hurl whatever they wish from their car windows. I try to put myself into their shoes and contemplate their thinking (there is none I'm sure) but I still cannot see a good enough reason which leaves me to ask myself;

What drives people to do this? Do people care so little about where they live? Do people who holiday here disregard their responsibilities because they are holidaying?

Do they not realise that not only is it an eyesore but more importantly do these litter louts realise the potential dangers this poses to the wildlife, waterways and vegetation that we are so lucky to have on our doorstep?

I know we all have a responsibility and we all should do our bit and - yes I will admit I am that annoying so-and-so who will report the issue intermittently on the council's website - but it is not just the local council's responsibility to ensure the litter is managed.

People need to recognise that it is a collective duty. I have, on more than one occasion, stopped the car in a layby, rubbish bag in hand and walked up and down collecting as much rubbish as I can possibly carry. This small endeavour does selfishly provide me with a great amount of satisfaction.

In conclusion it is important we, as a collective, stick together. I just really want to ask people to please think before you throw and let's keep our county one of the most beautiful in the country.

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