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Welcome back to our first post-Summer Cleanzine. It seems like such a long time ago that I wrote my last leader - perhaps that's the sign of having had a good break! As is usual over Summer, I've gone from one festival to another without actually unpacking my car and I'm happy to say that while most have boasted a crowd that takes note of the mantra: 'leave no trace', there was one that had attracted a tiny minority of the wrong element and I was sorry to see rubbish and a couple of tents left behind for the hard-working volunteers to deal with.
If I can pack all my things and drive off with a bag of recycling on my lap as there's no room for it elsewhere, why can't everyone else? I've observed over the years, a measure of what I refer to as 'mob mentality' in as much as my fellow campers seem to be of one mind. When I say 'leave no trace' I mean that the only sign anyone's been around is bleached grass where tents were pitched.
Mob mentality at its best then, although working the other way, it's clear that if people see that others have left rubbish behind, they think it's ok to follow suit, when actually it's not. It's the same with graffiti, isn't it? Hence the need to clean it off quickly, or better still, prevent it from happening in the first place.
The pictures beamed around the world of the detritus left by Leeds & Reading Festival-goers, which included an estimated £1million worth of perfectly good tents, made me ashamed of the way some of us think it's ok to behave. I've seen how hard the on-site teams work & I know how tiring it is to dismantle and pack up a tent after a manic few days and little sleep, so I can imagine their despair at being faced with a jungle of tents and rubbish. Why do people do it? Something needs to be done to change people's attitudes to waste - not just at festivals but on our beaches and in other places we spend our leisure time too, but apart from extra policing and intrusive CCTV, how do we do that? Education? Fines? Security-type inspections? Future bans for offenders? I'm at a loss - as, no doubt, are the authorities.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you have what you think may be a solution?
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6th September 2018