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I stumbled quite by chance across a news story a couple of weeks back, regarding the ‘Clean for The Queen’ campaign, launched last September in an attempt to encourage us to clean up these beautiful lands to celebrate Her Majesty's 90th birthday this coming 21st April.
The full details are below, but in a nutshell, it’s a kind of call to arms – the campaign’s organisers are admitting that we have litter problem and they’re asking us to help clean up in time for the celebrations.
I think it’s good that the problems of litter are being brought to our attention in a positive way and I like the idea that we are being encouraged to clear up our outside spaces. What I can’t get my head around though is the fact that I recall several reports of citizens of this country getting themselves into trouble over recent years when they’ve organised themselves into groups with the aim of clearing up litter, because of “health & safety issues”. What’s changed I wonder? Could it be something to do with the cuts to local authority budgets?
The story goes on to say that if we recycled 50% of items littered in England, it would have an economic value of at least £14.8 million. As well as being impressive, that figure’s quite frightening, isn’t it? How on earth did we allow our environment to get into such a mess?
Good things that have happened to prevent littering include the value put on single-use plastic carrier bags, which means that since we have to pay for them, we’re less likely to allow them to litter the landscape. The Government’s proposal to double the litter fine to £150 is another good move – but only if people are fined wisely by those with common sense rather than jobsworths with an agenda. People who lose a button from their coats are not litterers, any more than those who have a £10 note blown out of their hand! Litter wardens who’ve written out fines under these circumstances ought to be strung up…
I do hope this campaign receives lots of publicity and that people are inspired to get involved. Perhaps then, those who might otherwise drop litter will think twice about it, so we can once more enjoy our open spaces without having to grumble about the mess they’re in.
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21st January 2016