Despite litter being practically everywhere, I have to admit that
it’s rare that I actually catch people in the act of littering. Until today, I could
have named three occasions in the last three years.
The first: a 14-15 year old boy with a group of friends. He tossed a half drunk bottle of Pepsi into the bushes.
The second: a young man in his late teens or early 20s. He finished off
a pack of crisps, and dropped it. His girlfriend called him on it, and
he said “There’s no bin” and they continued on their way.
The third: a middle-aged woman out for a run who finished off her
bottle of water and popped it over a wall. I doubt she was intending to
collect it on her return journey.
And today I came across a
fourth. I was at Manchester Piccadilly station chatting with a work
colleague when my attention was captured by a middle-aged man peeling
open a sweet wrapper. As he opened it, the large pieces dropped to the
floor. His train was called simultaneously and he moved off to find his
platform, leaving the scraps behind. I wish I had said something but I
turned my attention back to my colleague and continued with my own
But I think these instances show that littering is a
more complex behaviour than it is often considered, and carried out by
those you might not think of. As a result, shouldn’t there be a
multi-faceted approach to tackling it?
The government recently
announced that it would be working on a litter strategy. This encouraged
me to come up with my own rubbish manifesto … which is growing into a longer document
day by day! I plan to post it in early February; please stay tuned.