I work in Swindon. It’s a quick commute from Chippenham and my office is literally two minutes from the train station. It’s on these trips to and from either Chippenham or Swindon station that I collect most of the rubbish that I feature in this blog. However, yesterday we saw a constant deluge of rain; while this didn’t stop me picking up litter, it did stop me from photographing it for #OneADayInMay. So please trust me when I say a stray coffee cup and a few other bits ended up in the bin!
Meanwhile, my other half did manage to snap some of photos of his own #OneADayInMay challenge during a trip to Cirencester. This is just a small selection of what he collected, the majority of which were items that could easily be recycled.
A few things jumped out at me yesterday that are worth considering with regards to rubbish. First, I think many people consider littering just an issue of aesthetics. It ruins the view, or just doesn’t look nice in the landscape. Which is undoubtedly true. However, it goes far beyond that. For example, with yesterday’s rain there was localised flooding in Swindon, some of which may have been the result of rubbish blocking the available drainage. It isn’t difficult to imagine a carrier bag or two preventing runoff from escaping.
In turn, the amount of rain washes a lot of debris into rivers and streams, where it will eventually flow into the ocean. Is this really what we want to find on our beaches? Or inside our fish, whales, seals, sea turtles, and other aquatic life?
The views from Cirencester also confirmed what I said to the reporters who interviewed me when Chippenham was chosen as a Clean for the Queen grot spot (I am still waiting to hear from them about this, by the way). It isn’t that Chippenham is particularly dirty or so much worse than other places; instead, it is representative of towns across the whole of the UK. And the sooner that the entire nation wakes up to its litter problem, the sooner we can take the necessary steps to fix it.