February 2018

Not littering requires a minuscule effortNot littering requires a minuscule effort

If you drop litter, you are a 'stupid, selfish, thoughtless yob'. So said gallerist and club owner Alex Proud in his column in The Daily Telegraph a few years ago. Proud explained this was his 'knee-jerk reaction to litter', but went on to analyse some litter-related facts and concluded that his gut reaction was correct. Barring an overflowing bin and some litter-spreading gusts of wind, it's hard to imagine any valid reason for unwanted items of packaging to be on the street (not that overflowing bins are acceptable).

As Proud pointed out, not littering requires a minuscule effort, so the only logical conclusion for intentional littering is, at best, ignorance and at worst, selfishness. Not wanting to waste my words here on exploring ways of preventing the problem, I'll skip straight to the cure: litter pickers. That considerate army of volunteers who meet to pick up other people's rubbish; that thoughtful commuter who returns a scattered paper cup to a nearby bin on their way to the office; that retired resident who uses their time to keep local streets tidy; that eager child who collects cans from the park for a recycling competition. Whatever form it takes – even those paid to do it – litter pickers make a difference. Not only do they remove said waste from the streets but studies have also shown that litter attracts littering, so by keeping our streets clean, we're breaking a vicious circle.

As I look across my living room floor, there is the odd Barbie doll and a few pieces from The Gruffalo board game making a break for freedom from the box, but not a single crisp packet, sweet wrapper or plastic bottle in sight. Not a surprise considering it's where I live. But I also live in a community. A community with a High Street for a dining room, numerous residential streets for a living room and multiple green spaces for a garden. As my roommate, I hope you will keep the place tidy.