It strikes me that there is a flagrant disregard for what is and always has been a criminal offence, that of littering. Yet this does not seem to deter a great many people from just throwing litter wherever they feel like it. I know from my own upbringing, as I am sure many will be able to relate to, that I was taught from a very young age that you always put your rubbish into the correct receptacle. Even if there is no refuse container around at the time you have some rubbish, then the procedure is to keep your rubbish with you, until you either find one or you get home and can use your own bin. So why do people open up their car windows and just chuck their rubbish straight out, regardless of where they are? Even when they are in an establishment of some kind, for example, a college/university, or an office, maybe even the cinema, it seems that people will just let their rubbish fall where they stand, onto the floor, even when a bin happens to be nearby, within walking distance. I have even heard people utter the words, “Don’t worry about it, the cleaner will tidy it up.” Where did these people grow up then? Were they constantly wading through great piles of refuse and debris in their own abodes because they truly believed that someone else is going to come along behind them and clear up their mess? This, to me at least, makes me wonder if they are just simply bone idle, or ignorant. Or are they in fact both?
This attitude further exacerbated my incredulity when I opened up the Daily Mail one week (30/05/2012, pg 18/19) and saw with horror a picture of Mount Everest looking like so many of our streets here, with piles of refuse and man-made debris, just left there by so called tourists and holiday makers. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t one of the most important rules of the countryside to take your litter home with you and not to litter the countryside? I am sure that a natural beauty spot like Everest must in some way at least count as the great outdoors, which is the countryside. It strikes me then that the whole globe has a serious problem. It appears to be filing up rapidly with billions of slack and slovenly humans, who have no regard, no respect and actually seem to want to live in rubbish. Whatever happened to Keep it Tidy campaigns? And all those tidy it up campaigns for the Queen’s Jubilee will certainly have had a hard job to combat this tide of mounting rubbish.
If we do not rectify this problem, then our lovely planet Earth will end up just like a caricature displayed in an episode of Red Dwarf, when Lister gets marooned on a planet of refuse, which turns out to be a future Earth, because humans had just filled it with rubbish until it was uninhabitable. There is a modern day film that uses this same caricature too, that being the Pixar film Wall-E. And yet, despite films and programmes like these deliberately taking the rise out of the human race for being such dirty, filthy, litter louts, we can still see litter everywhere, on every single street, dirt track and country lane we travel down. Even people’s own front gardens, as if they are displaying their rubbish proudly; not to forget what people have done to Mount Everest lately. Do we really and truly want to live like this, a supposedly intelligent race, who is forever attempting to place ourselves higher than the animal kingdom? I certainly do not see the animals leaving their rubbish behind.
Somehow, despite what I see around me, I do still live in hope, but I think that’s just the eternal optimist within me.