Like many people, I work in an office. My colleagues are lovely people,
and most of us have a veritable alphabet soup of letters after our
names thanks to advanced degrees in a smorgasbord of subjects. I say
this not to brag, but to illustrate a point about litter: it is not particularly about the type of rubbish, but rather a person’s attitude
to it. Because, despite all of those degrees, my office has a litter problem.
Take this photo for example, snapped today in my office. This wrapper scrap has been sitting on the floor
all week. I can guarantee it wasn’t deliberately tossed there, but rather someone accidentally dropped it then failed to pick it up. It’s on a main corridor
and has been walked past again and again until I binned it after
taking the picture. It is not alone: I find bits and pieces across the entire building on a regular basis.
It’s not because these wrappers or bits of paper inherently lend themselves to
becoming litter. Or that the building is overrun with litter louts.
But rather it’s the unconscious attitude that is shared by a not-insignificant minority: The cleaners will get it. I’m too busy. It’s someone else’s job.
I can’t be bothered.
This Bank Holiday Monday is a chance for Chippenham to show that we will no longer tolerate such apathy with regards to litter, with the Mayor of Chippenham asking that residents pick up one or two pieces of rubbish as part of a Chippenham-wide litter pick. I will go a step further: how about one a day for the month of May?
And let’s look beyond cleaning to preventing litter in the first place. Teach your kids–whether they’re 4, 14, or 40–not to litter. Does a local business seem to have a litter problem on their doorstep? Politely bring it to the manager’s attention.
I admit it: changing ingrained attitudes and behaviours is hard. But if we start with ourselves and realise the power to bring about change is literally within our hands, imagine how much we can accomplish–especially when it comes to cleaning up our own community.