The evidence of littering is all around us – you don’t have to look far to see a sandwich carton, sweet wrapper, half full plastic bottle, or forgotten coffee cup. But how the litter actually got there is often a blank. Admittedly it’s very easy to imagine the stereotypical litter lout, someone who deliberately throws a piece of rubbish to the ground or out a car window, but a recent experience while walking through the Chippenham High Street has highlighted another issue – littering through inaction.
First, an employee was standing in front of his shop and on his way back inside he stopped to kick a piece of rubbish out of the doorway. Now the small box he kicked aside wasn’t from his store and I’m sure he thought it wasn’t his responsibility to pick it up. In his mind, moving it away from the front of the store was action enough. And yet all this does is move the problem on – it doesn’t solve anything.
Just a few minutes later, I saw a young man walking towards me, jacket slung over one arm. As he reached in the jacket pocket to get something, a pack of Rizla wrappers fell to the ground. He turned to look at them as he continued to walk, but he never paused or made a move to retrieve them.
It is this very lack of action and apathy (just ignore it, it will go away … it’s not my responsibility … what’s the big deal?) that has contributed to the current litter problem in the UK. I hope to see you on 25th July at Scoffs Cafe for brainstorming and discussion about what we as a community can do. What type of anti-litter projects would you like to see get Off the Ground? How do we encourage Chippenham to clean up its act?
Let’s figure out how we can turn ideas into action.