One thing I noticed, or I should say, perceived, was that there was less litter about during Lockdown. I put this down to the fact that fast food places were closed and so less fast food wrappings being discarded from vehicles.
Actually, as others had reported, there were actually the occasional carelessly discarded facemask or rubber gloves (which if actively thrown out of a vehicle seems odd since the very things are used for the betterment of health, whereas, litter-making is counter to this since it harms our environment).
With Lockdown restrictions easing and fast-food places being open once more for take-aways/take-outs, I’ve seen a rise in the amount of this sort of litter about, freshly discarded; you can tell it’s fresh when it’s a McDonalds brown paper bag not yet been rained on.
It’s depressing and bothersome for me to see. I don’t quite understand the mentality of someone who lives in the countryside, who has had their freedom to be out restricted, yet when does get to go out more, actively seeks to make a mess of the place. I imagine there is some sort of rejection of the system that lead them to buy and consume the crap of which the wrapping they discarded; the disappointment that it didn’t quite fulfil them as expected leads them to vent their frustration through the physical act of throwing the remnants out the window (this is all unconscious to the dimwits I have little doubt). Cigarettes, beer, energy drinks, mass produced fast food, take away coffee… no one needs this stuff.
I don’t know what to do about any of this; if I’m on foot and almost back at home then I tend to pick up such rubbish, it gives me a sense of pride. In this period of increase in the amount of people out walking, during the “You’re only allowed 1 hour of exercise per day” restrictions* (a spectacle which gradually dwindled as people lost interest in their daily walks, runs or rides, or the weather became less inspiring) I often wondered why others hadn’t picked up the litter they had obviously walked past, and likely did so day-after-day.
*They weren’t really restrictions to most of these people because they were out walking or riding bikes when they wouldn’t normally have been.
- People often turn a blind eye to litter
- It isn’t theirs to pick up (or their job)
- “It could be infected”
Litter doesn’t pick itself up. If I run or cycle past some one day and not pick it up, then it’s only going to irritate me again the next day I come across it.
So, what to do about it? Other than make more of an effort to pick it up myself?
Often I feel like, in addition to stuff dropped accidentally, it’s a particular type of person who chucks rubbish out of a car window; where do you find such people to promote the message of not chucking little? Facebook seems the place to get the word around these days, but I don’t do Facebook. Maybe affix “Bin it” signs to telegraph poles at problem spots? At such spots it often seems like it’s the same people at the same time each week; maybe I could lie in wait, keep a record of which vehicles are passing around that time in order to pinpoint the culprit, find out where they live and collect their discarded waist and go and stuff it under their windscreen wiper or stuff it through their letterbox.
The situation reminds me of an illustration I read of in, I think, I book about the psychology of human nature, in which a man goes into a pub on a busy evening. There’s only one seat left and it’s next to the door. The door is faulty and doesn’t automatically close, so each time someone comes in the door is left ajar and gives the poor man a cold draft; he has to get up a close the door. He perseveres though for a while, rather than raising the issue with a member of staff. Occasionally he calls a person coming in to please close the door. As time goes on and more people come and go he gets more and more irritated with the cold draft and having to repeatedly close the door. Eventually he snaps. One more patron walks in and leaves the door ajar and the man gets up from the seat and has it out with the man in an angry rage “Close the F*in door!….”
The problem here is that one patron got the wrath that had festered with the coming and going with all of the others. Another is that he kept asking each person to close the door; he could had done that all evening. Another option could have been for him to call it a night and go home rather than be in the place by the draughty door. Really, the problem was with the door, or the system, if you will. Maybe none of the patrons had been brought up to close a door behind them, just like our litter-droppers. Litter has always been an issue and a remember it being a topic at school, perhaps during assembly, or when things got bad in the school grounds we had to spend a period with little picking devices, clearing all the mess that had been made by fellow students. I guess some people left school still not having learnt that lesson.