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Letter: We Can Change Our Rubbish Culture

Published on: 17 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 17 Apr, 2021

From: David Roberts

In response to: We All Need to Take Responsibility For the Litter That Surrounds Us

Changing the behaviour of litter-louts is the work of generations: they simply lack the right education and cultural values.

On the other hand, people who don’t drop litter (the vast majority) can easily pick it up. Most, though, seem to prefer to ignore it, grumble or blame others, such as the council.

Smoking and drink-driving show that social norms can be changed, even within a few years, if given a nudge. I’d like to see householders “adopt” stretches of street where they live and keep them tidy, as our great-grandparents used to do. That would leave the council to focus on the no man’s lands of slip-roads and car parks.

The motto should be: “You didn’t drop it but you can still pick it up!” You don’t need to organise community events; just do it. Today. And please don’t mention health & safety. It’s great exercise and local shops like CCP sell gloves, high-vis jackets, litter pickers and a great hoop-like device for keeping your black bin-bag open.

Do it and it will snowball. In a few years’ time, we’ll wonder why people ever dropped litter in the first place, just like we wonder why people ever smoked on the train.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: We Can Change Our Rubbish Culture

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    April 18, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Mostly, in the Horsleys, it is cyclists who throw cans, bottles and bust inner tubes into the hedgerows. Then there are the school children who add to this litter with sweet and crisp packets. At Kingston Meadows, where children play and people walk dogs, thoughtless youth smash bottles by the benches.

    It is only through education and parental guidance that the young will learn that littering is not only messy, and unsightly but dangerous and a disgraceful abuse of the countryside.

    Sometimes the perpetrators are observed causing litter, but sadly people are too afraid to confront groups of mainly lads, who might be carrying knives or other weapons.

  2. Adam Aaronson Reply

    April 18, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Unfortunately you will need to add the throwaway face mask to the list of common litter items. Those of us who do pick up some litter from time to time tend to avoid those with a “yeeuchh”.

    Perhaps the supermarkets could start a “Mask for Life” campaign to mirror the “Bag for Life” programme. Otherwise all the effort to eliminate the single-use plastic bag from the ocean could be offset by the ubiquitous single-use mask on the land.

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