Monday, February 08, 2010

It’s A Dirty War

Is street litter alive, do you think? Does it possess some kind of sub-intelligence that allows it to migrate minutely across pavements and up kerbstones according to the rules of some kind of inscrutable herd instinct?

I ask this because my front garden seems to attract litter like Heather Mills attracts woodworm (but repels Beatles – ha ha). Every day a new piece of detritus appears from out of the ether – like it’s apported there from another dimension. Sweet wrappers, crisp packets (usually full of rain water) and the ubiquitous and therefore unconditionally hateful McDonald’s milkshake carton.

I can only surmise that the architecture of my street creates some weird kind of wind vortex that sucks and swirls all the litter from the immediate vicinity into a little freight train of trash that inevitably finds its way to my front door step.

It sounds too unfeasible to be true, doesn’t it? But the alternative would be to suggest that passersby are deliberately hoofing the packaging from their consumables over my hedge and onto my front lawn on a regular basis.

Now I’m not so paranoid as to suggest a deliberate campaign of dirty warfare here but the fact we’re on the route home from the local pub probably has a bearing on what is occurring and, yes, I know worse things happen at sea and all that...

...but it annoys the living bejasus out of me. Mostly because the local authority has, in its infinite wisdom, installed litter bins every 50 yards along most of Leamington’s streets. No matter where you are in Leamington Spa you are never too far away from a litter bin. They punctuate every pavement of my home town like a 3D form of Sanskrit.

And yet the streets are still awash with crap, cast-offs and the crud of various social effluvia.

The most recent offense that has really got my goat was finding one of those horrid orange polystyrene food cartoons wedged into my hedge like the poor thing was an aga. The hedge is quite dense. It takes some doing to wedge anything into it, I can tell you. In fact we occasionally find birds spitted on the ends of twigs like ready-made kebabs. To shove a polystyrene container in there, elbow-deep, took a good deal of deliberate effort. Surely it would have been far easier to walk another 10 yards or so and find the ever open-mouth of a friendly litter bin? Why dump your guff on someone else’s parade?

Clearly there are too many people around who just do not care enough about their environment and that makes me quite depressed. Why is it that we humans constantly deface the world around us with such belligerent nonchalance? Have we really progressed no further than dogs and cats who mark out their territory with the waste of their own bodies? Here, see that chip wrapper over there? Well, that’s mine that is and so’s the street that goes along with it...!

Harrumph.

Well, see that machine gun turret behind that hedge over there? That’s mine, that is, and so is everything that falls in range of the bullets. So find an effing bin next time!


16 comments:

French Fancy said...

This is a real bugbear of mine and whenever I return to the UK I am always amazed at how much litter is in the average British town.

I know I bang on about the British/French divide from time to time but there really is very little litter in our region. It was one of the things we noticed straight away and on all the expat forums you see this mentioned time and time again.

Steve said...

FF: it's a horrible British trait and people here (on the whole) really don't seem to see it as a problem but more and more I find myself gritting my teeth in frustration every time I walk down the street... to have it end up in my own garden is even more galling.

Suburbia said...

That has made me laugh, a lot. Sorry, not for dropping litter (NEVER),just for finding your post amusing! Thanks!

(That giggle over there? That's mine that is!)

Steve said...

Suburbia: to paraphrase a famous poem - that giggle is yours but the love you have for that giggle is mine and mine and mine... (and yours)! ;-)

The Sagittarian said...

Steve, I feel your anguish and angst. We live one house away from a public park, and it's beautiful it is. BUT our council in its infinite 'wisdom' has taken away the bins at the park entrance. They claim they want to encourage people to take their rubbish away with them. Do they, bollocks!

Steve said...

Amanda: your council bigwigs need their bumps feeling...! If people could be persuaded to take their rubbish home with them nobody would have ever invented the litter bin in the first place! Doh!

Tenon_Saw said...

You'll find no litter bins on railway stations (well not at Leicester when I was there 5 years ago) as they are a fire hazard. Great; very helpful.
Sadly we live in a throw-away society and one which subscribes to the view, "People are paid to clear it up".
Don't even get me started on fly-tipping.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: And great big diesel guzzling trains are not a fire hazard? What about the inevitable station cafeteria? A veritable fire and botulism hazard I'll warrant!

Deirdre said...

Littering is just horrible....especially the chewing gum everywhere...but as much as I hate litterers,I am not brave enough to accost them and tell them off...a 'f..k off' from some lowlife when I tried it once, has just made me realise that there is no point....

missbehaving said...

A funny post again, but a terrible problem, now I am starting another day in ' what the Hell is wrong with people' mode. But seriously, what the Hell is wrong with people?

Completely Alienne said...

I absolutely hate litter too and have drilled my two into putting it into bins or giving it to whichever parent was with them to take home -- interestingly I still find them trying to put things in my pockets if there are no bins around. Our local station has a large see through plastic bag hanging up - but at least it is a bin. The last lot were taken down because of the threat of terrorist bombs I believe.

Steve said...

Deirdre: I have seen this happen so many times myself - people drop litter, ride their bikes on the pavement and daub graffiti everywhere and no-one dares say a damned thing in case they get a knife thrust in their face.

MissBehaving: I wish I had a simple answer to that question. In fact I do: everything.

Completely Alienne: you're the second person to comment on the removal of bins from trains stations because of perceived threats... it's ridiculous. If people want to conceal a dangerous device they will find somewhere... the toilets for example. Will the station staff remove those too as a potential health hazard (hmm...)? Most bombers these days don't leave their bombs unattended anyway... they like to stay close to them until the very end if you get my meaning so all these precautions are useless anyway!

French Fancy said...

came back to add - I remember when years ago I followed someone down a street holding in my hot little hand their banana skin they had thrown on the pavement. They did take it when I thrust it at them - but then that was about 20 years ago. I wouldn't have the nerve to do it now in case I got attacked.

Steve said...

FF: I don't think I'd ever have the courage to handle another man's banana skin...

Selina Kingston said...

When did it happen? When did society become like this? Dropping litter was something we were ACTIVELY told not to do which is why I wouldn't dream of just dropping stuff on the ground. So why do kids think it is OK to wedge their bloody takeaway debris into hedges or leave it on top of cars (as I found on my car roof once)- people really are disgusting.
(thank you for your comment by the way - you are always so kind....too kind maybe x)

Steve said...

Selina: I think the main problem is that there is no longer anyone to enforce the rules - the police can't be bothered/haven't the resources and other adults, as you can see from the comments above, are too scared to intervene in case they are met with violence... it's anarchy, I tell you, anarchy!