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In last week's Cleanzine we featured Cromwell Polythene's litter pick for Keep Britain Tidy's 'Great British September Clean' and I've spent more time than I probably should have done this week, wondering whether the folk of Sherburn in Elmet, near Leeds, and those in Alfreton, Derbyshire, (where the various teams were working) are rather different from those in other parts of the UK. Why? Simply because 'hundreds of cigarette butts' made up the majority of the litter, rather than the discarded face masks I expected to read about. According to the listings, there wasn't even one mask. Keep Britain Tidy's 2019 litter survey found that cigarette butts accounted for 66% of all items. But everything's changed since then, hasn't it?
I've lost track of the rules (well who hasn't?) but around much of the UK - well, in those areas where we're still allowed out, we generally have to wear masks some of the time. I see people out in the parks and countryside wearing them. If you're wearing a mask, you can't smoke. And if you're one of the thousands who've tested positive for Covid, you probably shouldn't be smoking anyway, should you, mask wearer or not?
Rarely do I see discarded cigarette butts. I do, however, see loads of used disposable masks lying around & I despair of the mentality of those who think it's OK to drop them.
I also despair of the apparent ignorance of those making the rules. I'm not sure whether this one's still valid, but where's the logic in having to wear a mask in a bar, pub or restaurant when you're not drinking or eating, but being able to remove it when you are. And once you're finished, put it back on again (is that between sups of your drink, or food courses I wonder?). To fiddle around with your mask, taking it off then putting it on again, having touched surfaces in a public place, could be folly indeed. Doesn't anyone in Government think these things through?
As someone who abhors wearing a mask I avoid situations that require me to do so. As soon as I put one on, I feel as if I've masked my brain and I won't go into the impact that has but let's just say I'm surprised my local Co-op doesn't turn off the lights & pull down the shutters when they see me coming. My goodness do I admire those who manage to wear them whilst working - particularly if the work's physical, as in cleaning!
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8th October 2020