Saturday 27 October 2012

Picking it up

A helper on a litter pick in better weather!
 Today is supposed to be when Little Melton has its autumn litter pick but the weather is so cold and so wet that we have postponed in the hope that it improves tomorrow! Litter picks are a strange mixture of good and bad, because on the one hand they bring people together to do something for the community but they should not really be necessary at all. Ten people work hard for an hour and at the end of it we have about 10 bags of rubbish, most of which will go to land fill as it is not easy to separate out the recyclables.

The majority of the rubbish that we pick up is food containers, thrown from cars – bottles, take away wrappers and the like. As I creep up the side of a busy road, trying to avoid being run over as I pick the rubbish out of the hedge, I wonder about the people who are so ready to chuck their rubbish out of their cars and the role that take away food has had in shaping their attitudes. Disposable packaging is clearly a waste of valuable resources but does it do wider damage by influencing people’s attitudes to the planet’s finite resources? One you accept that it is OK to use a bottle once and then throw it away does it then become easier to view more valuable items as disposable? There was a time when even a simple bottle would have been made by hand by a local craftsman and would have been worth much more than its contents. Throwing it away would have been inconceivable.

Throwing rubbish out of a car is not just a lack of respect for the resource but a shows a lack of respect for the countryside and the people and creatures that live in it. Does one lead to the other? If you don’t value the planet’s resources then maybe you don’t value the planet. If you don’t value the planet then you don’t value the community that you live in and the people who make the household goods that make your life possible. So it seems to me that fast food and disposable packaging has a lot more to answer for than the littering of the countryside – and that is before we consider the food itself!

The CPRE are fighting to introduce a deposit on bottles that will create jobs and go some way to reverse the throwaway trend.

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