Monday, May 30, 2011

By the Bus Stop

Opposite our house is a road leading down to some woods, and there's a bus stop just by the entrance to the woods. Here it is:

It looks fine at first but then if you walk past and look inside the fence we have this:

Yes, lots of cans and take-away wrappers and bottles and crisp packets, all behind the fence so it's really hard to remove them - - and, indeed, nobody ever has. There's rubbish back there that dates back to Dickens' time.

So what's the thinking - well, I say "thinking" but I'm not sure that this is the correct word - in the mind of Litter Oik, behind tucking the litter down the back of the fence then? Rather than, say, hurling it into the road, giving it to the bus driver, setting it on fire or just dropping it on the floor at their feet?

I think that in Oik World, putting the litter behind the fence is almost as good as putting it in a bin, isn't it? It has just the same feel to it - - putting it somewhere rather than just dropping it on the floor.

Once, when I was walking by the edge of Roundhay Park Lake, a teenage girl in front of me finished drinking from a large pop bottle and then simply flung it into the lake. I was so, SO tempted just to push her in after it. I had to clamp my arms to my sides to stop myself. Okay, I'd probably have ended up in prison but ohhhhh the moment of pushing would have been such a pleasure.

When I was younger, when I saw people drop litter I would pick it up and hand it back to them with a cheery smile and "I suppose you didn't notice, but you seem to have dropped this by mistake." It may not have done any good, but I enjoyed doing it and it made me feel better. I wouldn't try it now though - I'd probably get stabbed.

Sometimes, in my grumpier moments, I think that if they ever put me in charge of the Justice System (unlikely, on the face of it, but you never know so I'm getting prepared in case), I think I would try an experiment.

Firstly, introducing far more rubbish bins - there isn't one by this bus stop, I notice. And secondly, a mandatory jail sentence for throwing paper or cardboard or a can on the floor outdoors. Ohhh yes! In our current system it's treated as a very minor offence - and yet it's not. It ruins the environment for the rest of us. When I see other litter-free countries, I feel ashamed.


Blogger aerate harsh ladle said...

Daphne, it's one of the reasons I get so depressed with this country. It DOESN'T happen everywhere else. Other countries in Europe & further afield take pride in their area, and make sure it's clean and tidy. When was the last time you saw someone sweeping the pavement in front of their door step? And if you can remember, I bet it was an elderly person.

When I challenge students at school - and I recently made an 11-year-old girl go down a level to pick up a sweet wrapper she'd casually thrown over the balcony - their response is usually 'it's the cleaner's job'.

And that's the crux of it, I think. In today's society, it's always someone else's job / responsibility. Never 'mine'.

What HAVE we become, and where will it end?

4:46 pm  
Blogger Debby said...

Oh if only they'd put us in charge...

4:54 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Litterbugs should be aerated with a harsh ladle....

1:07 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I share your vehement feelings about litter. I never drop litter and never have and our two children were taught from an early age that littering is as bad as it is wrong. I think that litter louts should be put in goods trains and transported to Leeds. That would teach them! Unless of course they lived in Leeds in the first place - then they'd be shipped to North Wales.

4:35 pm  
Blogger Jan Blawat said...

When my brother was a child, he hated bread crust. He would eat the bread away and when the crust was left, he tucked it under the top of his plate, where he couldn't see it but everyone else could. Same mentality as someone who throws garbage over a see-through fence...except my brother learned better and litterbugs never seem to.

8:04 am  

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