On the list of things despised by the Degu Witch (Tescos, people who talk too much, Boots advantage card, people who like sport, tea, mobile phones, people who disagree with the Degu Witch, Pandora bracelets, discrimination, 5p pieces, chewing gum, cheese flavoured crisps, cockroaches and the Conservative party …) one item shines as a beacon of hatred worthy of its own blog. Litter.
I hate it. I hate those completely oblivious fools who throw their litter to the floor thinking somebody else will pick it up. I hate the kids who think its funny, the adults who don’t care, the parents who don’t teach their kids respect. I was brought up to never drop my litter. I’d have got a good smack from my mother if I’d gone around dropping my crisp packets on the floor. And quite right too. She brought me up to respect the environment and to take responsibility for my own mess. And how hard is it to put a crisp packet in a bin anyway?
Its not any one generation to blame. I see as many old people chuck their wrappings on the ground as I do teenagers. There just seems to be this whole attitude that it is somebody else’s problem. I personally don’t know how anybody can bring themselves to just carelessly drop something on the floor. I chase anything I accidentally drop down the high street…even in a strong wind. I’d rather flash my knickers to an unsuspecting public than be tainted with the foul stench of the litter lout.
To give you an example - I went out for a picnic last summer with my husband and a couple of friends. Very pleasant. Upon leaving our spot we packed up everything carefully, cleared our litter into my husband’s rucksack and left the spot exactly as we had found it. Nearby where we were sitting was another family who were also enjoying the rare summer picnic weather. However when they wandered off, they left all their litter behind, the remnants of their picnic, plastic bottles, dog mess and would you believe it, even dirty nappies. Disgusting. And so completely unnecessary. As far as they were concerned, they had had their fun and they didn’t care that they had made the place horrible for the next family who came along. (Mind you fellow witches, pretty handy to pinch a bit of dna for a spot of revenge? These idiots obviously don’t think that one through….)
Litter has a real impact, beyond mere frustration and unsightliness. It pollutes the rivers and lakes and poisons our fish and birds. Those nasty plastic things that keep cans of lager together can trap animal heads and strangle them. Birds swallow chewing gum and it sticks their insides together. Left over food attracts rats which bring disease into our towns.
There is a major environmental issue here as well. Do you know how long it takes an empty coke can to biodegrade? Two hundred years. That means that coke can you chuck on the ground could still be kicking around in the time of your great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchild.
Plastic? Bottle tops and the like? They can stick around for 400 years. So if they had had plastic at the time of the gunpowder plot and James 1st had dropped one on the floor, that could theoretically have survived until the present day.
When are we going to wake up to the fact that we can’t choke our beautiful planet indefinitely without consequence? And when are we going to realise that we are not as important as we think we are and instead of banging on about our “rights” to do we should be looking harder at our responsibilities and duties to do things. And these very much include caring for the only habitable planet we have.
Nature will win in the end of course. I watched this brilliant documentary about Life after People and it showed how long it would take for nature to entirely reclaim the planet when (and its when and not if) people are finally wiped out. Most signs of man even including monuments like the Statue of Liberty would be gone without a trace after 10,000 years. Roads will crumble, buildings will fall, the green and the wild will once again rampage through the planet. Animals will return to our cities and within just a few thousand years you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint where London, Tokyo and New York ever stood. That reassures me somewhat.
But even so you horrible, ill mannered, ignorant litter louts – your contempt for your world and for those around you revolts me.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=383352 (Drewlface)