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Author Topic: What's to be done about litter?  (Read 6853 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
What's to be done about litter?
« on: April 03, 2015, 06:12:47 pm »
This is not a rant, but I'm genuinely looking for opinions about the amount of litter in Britain, and whether there are any ways to deal with it.

It may be different in different areas, but hereabouts the amount of litter, great and small, tossed onto the verges and into fields looks just awful, and may be a danger to livestock (such as plastic bags) or wildlife (such as those plastic things which keep sixpacks together).

I might sound like a right old timer when I say that 'it didn't used to be like this', but really it didn't.  I don't remember when I became aware that people were dropping their litter, but now it's most of what I see when I'm out and about.

We keep our own fields and verges litter free, but no-one else seems to make any effort at all.

I see 'white van man' tossing newspapers, food wrappers and drink cans out of their windows as they drive past. Neds doing their evening hare around the countryside toss beer cans and bottles, and take-away cartons out. People who can't be bothered to arrange for uplift of old mattresses take a trip out into the countryside to dump them in a field.  Parents with babies stop in laybys to change nappies and toss the used ones by the side of the road. There's worse, of course, with toilet paper left under hedges.  After a high wind rubbish has flown everywhere, with plastic bags hanging in torn strips from trees and bushes, and larger debris strewn about.  All in all the countryside looks like a dump.

There are occasional litter picking initiatives, and charity litter collections, even the occasional council worker seen out collecting rubbish, and all these people put their own lives at risk to do this work right on the edges of main roads.

Whatever can we do to alert people to how horrible it is, and get people to take their litter home and dispose of it properly?

The situation is so bad that a new geological era is thought to be under way, with strata made up of all the effluent, especially plastics, of our society.  I can't remember what it's being called - the anthropoid, or the anthropogenic era?? Ah no, Mr F has just reminded me it's the Anthropocene.

So what ideas can you think of which would possibly make a difference?  Initiatives at individual or local community level?  Charities?  Government?  Educational advertising?  Teaching in schools?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 11:24:34 am by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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mowhaugh

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Scottish Borders
    • Facebook
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 08:33:38 pm »
I'm don't have any bright ideas, but agree that it is a huge problem.  My children are constantly picking up litter, and get quite cross when I sometimes won't let them pick up something that looks unsafe, but so many people think it is normal to just drop things.

The other thing that really bugs me is cigarette butts - I know lots of people who wouldn't dream of dropping a crisp packet, but think nothing of tossing a cigarette butt on the ground.  Grr.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2015, 08:47:32 pm »
I agree - it's one of my pet hates. I think a lot of it comes from cars - looking at where it's located - and a lot of it is as a result of us eating on the go, fast food etc.

I was in Austria years ago and there was no litter but there was no fast food either. Folk went to cafes and coffee shops not stuffing their faces as they walk or drive.

Perhaps it's related to folk's feeling of disempowerment - it's always someone else's job to fix it. maybe tat's the car thing as well.

Amazes me how many folk out enjoying the countryside or at elast walking / cycling on the local cycle path drop litter.

honeyend

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 09:50:22 pm »
I think its definitely a male habit. I had always assumed it was young adults but I live about a mile from a BP station with a fast food outlet, most of it comes from there so you have to have a car or a van. Then as I litter pick, none of it is healthy eating, and having served fast food most of it women wouldn't eat and not a diet coke to be seen.
  My final evidence was the workman working on my house build. They ate BK everyday, most of the litter ended up on the floor, one would throw his cups in the hedge and I found a sandwich wrap stuffed down a cavity wall, by the electrician complete with an invoice. The last time the brickies came they cleaned out the car and I found five fag packets where they had parked it, they had only been there 3 hours.
  So its mainly men, most of them do not seem awful people, most seem fairly intelligent, but for some reason they see litter as someone else's problem and as long as its bagged up and thrown out of a window that's their job done. I want to smack their bottoms, like their mothers should have done.

bloomer

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 10:04:13 pm »
it does amaze me how far it travels as well, walking round the any fields and it is astonishing what appears... i can understand paper and light plastics blowing in the wind but cans and glass bottles???




RUSTYME

  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2015, 10:17:26 pm »
Round here it is cider cans , energy drink cans , plastic sarnie triangles , plastic drink bottles , then in the woods , car tyres , old tv's and  black rubbish bags .
Stuff i find on the road is unbelievable , pliers , hammers , screwdrivers , money ( a 20 note and over time at least another 20 in coins)  , even a mobile phone . Walking has benefits lol .
But rubbish is really bad nowdays . Those that chuck it don't give a toss , what to do ? , unless you see the ar*holes chuck it the only thing that can be done is pick it up . There is so much along the road here i couldn't carry it , so there it stays .
Sad very sad .

Castle Farm

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Hereford/Powys Border. near Hay-on-Wye
    • castlefarmeggs
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2015, 09:25:22 am »
Get the people on community service to pick it up.
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2015, 09:56:33 am »
We pick up a lot of litter here, much of it around the tourist sights and trail... However, reading your posts, I think perhaps the tens of thousands of people who come to the Roman fort and Wall are perhaps not so bad overall.   :thinking:

One time we see a lot of litter is when the bins have been emptied.  These tip-up wheelie bins are all very efficient, I am sure, but it's generally windy here and some gets blown off each time a bin is tipped up.   ::)  I think pretty much everyone does use bin liners (or carrier bags) and tie the handles, but there always seem to be a few loose bits and pieces to blow around.

In terms of how to stop people dropping litter - no doubt it is at least partly education (or lack of it), but is it symptomatic of a lack of pride in one's country, the countryside, oneself and others?
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2015, 10:07:36 am »
Huge on the spot fines?

Think this is how Norwegian cities are kept spotless.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2015, 11:30:30 am »
I litter pick the half mile lane between us and the B road twice a year and never collect less than two bin liners' worth.  Mostly cans and bottles (including, one year, an unopened 1 litre bottle of Courvoisier brandy!).  Some blows off the bin lorry but some has been driven for miles - the nearest KFC is 19 miles away!  I always wear disposable gloves and if I find a bag of rubbish go through it in the hope of finding an envelope with an address on it.  If I ever did I would happily drive 20 miles to hand it back to the owner and say, "I think you dropped this!"

Maybe education is the key - take the infant school children out on a local litter pick and talk about why people litter and show gory pictures of hedgehogs stuck in 6-pack plastic.  Maybe little boys never grow out of expecting Mummy to clean up after them (not on my watch, though!)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2015, 11:46:44 am »
Ah yes - community service - that's a good idea.

I think Sally has hit the nail on the head about a lack of pride in our country.  I think that works for Norwegians as well, who I believe are very proud to be Norwegian.  However, there needs to be plenty of enforcers available for fines.
Being totally careless of others and the 'it's someone else's job to pick it up' are now endemic in our society, especially the Thatcher era babes onwards.  So could part of a solution be within schools?  Here, the main school - Biggar High School - lets the pupils out at lunchtime to forage for their own food, and the amount of litter they dump is enormous.  The school refuses to be remotely interested, so if they accept it, then the children won't even question it.  To alter that requires a major attitude change.

So, how do we, as individuals, influence educational policy, and community service tasks?  I'm not a great campaigner, but do we maybe need a campaign, lobbying or petitions, and who to?  I feel the need to do something, but I've no idea what.   I don't do social media, but would that be a starting point?

Just seen your post Marches Farmer.  Oh how I would love to return someone's dumped rubbish to them like that.  I ride a motorbike, and sometimes have found lit fag ends tossed out of cars, bouncing towards me.  If I have a passenger, then on occasion I've been able to get them to retrieve the offending fag end and drop it back into the car through the open window at the next traffic lights.  Oh what a hooligan I've been  :eyelashes:, but it creates a wonderful scene and hopefully gets the driver to think more about their actions.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

RUSTYME

  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 12:14:56 pm »
I am totally against more fines , the policy enforcers should be there to prevent and detect crime , not issue justice via fines (check magna carter) .
Educate people and make less disposable rubbish .
Not into community service either . It was weant to be for minor crimes , now they are talking of the unemployed doing it , and even oap's for their pension . Police state  has begun !

Castle Farm

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Hereford/Powys Border. near Hay-on-Wye
    • castlefarmeggs
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2015, 01:13:26 pm »
I'm not into community service either Rusty.


Every week in our local paper the courts hand out suspended sentences and fines..(most to be taken at 10 per fortnight from their benefits.) For drunks fighting and people stealing to fund drug habits.


You could save the tax payer millions of pounds by bringing the birch back and laying it on some of these thoughtless morons we have to live with.

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Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2015, 01:35:56 pm »
I once was out with the dogs, parked in a council car park and had trouble hauling the dogs out of a mountain of rubbish including a 36 inch tv. I rang the council to report it but my big complaint was that they must have had a van or something to have taken it so why not take it to one of the five recycling centres in the town?


Some of our local schools arrange litter picks so they are doing something to educate the children.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What's to be done about litter?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2015, 04:34:54 pm »
I think using folk on community payback orders to lift litter is sound.

The worse it gets, the more folk are likely to drop litter - "it's a shithole andyway, so what difference will my litter make".

Maybe someone at roundabouts and sliproads with an air rifle to take out the tyres of those chucking stuff out the car windows?

 

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