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Anyone who visited England over the Summer holidays will have quickly realised that we have a litter problem. I despair when walking into Epsom to my weekend office, at the discarded takeaway food cartons, empty bottles and general rubbish that I have to pick my way around. Don’t people care or are they too drunk to notice? And of course it’s not just weekend revellers, but the lazy, the ignorant, the selfish and the badly brought up, at all times of the day – any day – that blight our public places with their unwanted items, seemingly oblivious to the problems they cause. What to do about it though?
Some local authorities have enjoyed real success in catching and fining litterers, (although others have taken it to ridiculous extremes, with one person fined because a thread fell off their jacket, and another fined for dropping money)!
If you see someone dropping litter, do you take London Mayor Boris Johnson’s preferred course of action and hand it back to them, or do you pick it up and bin it yourself, or simply ignore it?
I understand that volunteers clearing litter in a Derbyshire town recently were – instead of being praised by the local council and thanked for their good citizenship – told to ‘down tools’ because they’d not been trained to use litter picking equipment. I also gather that several thousand fly tipping incidents went unprosecuted in Derby last year so there was obviously a need for some clearing up; unfortunately the council was too afraid to accept help in case the volunteers injured themselves and sued the council as a result!
I wonder whether anyone has sued their local authority for back injuries caused in moving a full wheelie bin to the front of their property (or down the lane to a collection point) for emptying, or cuts sustained through washing up tins or removing staples from cardboard so they can be recycled. I can’t help feeling that if everyone took responsibility for binning their own rubbish and admitted when accidents were down to their own careless behaviour (rather than blaming someone else with a view to claiming compensation) life would be a lot easier.
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25th September 2014