#OneADayInMay: 31 May

Yesterday was a bit wet for me to put the collection of rubbish out for a photograph, but sunshine today means that I can wrap up #OneADayInMay with the full complement of litter.

The first thing that jumped out at me in this assemblage (and throughout the entire month) is the sheer amount of plastic. It wasn’t until I started dealing with it on a daily basis–and laying it out to photograph–that I realised how much packaging was made from this material. I’ve been trying to cut back at home, but it’s clear that there is still a very long way to go before we can reduce the amount in society in general.

The type of litter is also changing with the seasons: freezer pops and ice cream containers are starting to sprout as we head into summer. And you might think that some of this litter looks, well, scrappy. That’s because it’s cheaper/easier for towns and cities to just mow their grass than to litter pick then mow. This means that you end up with rubbish confetti scattered across the grass–the perfect size to get washed into storm drains and out to sea, or eaten by wildlife.

Finally, that bright red piece of paper at the very top is a detention notice for a local student. Rather than requiring it to be signed by a parent or guardian to ensure that it is 1) seen by said parent or guardian, and 2) returned to the school, it simply ended up as yet another piece of detritus. Out of sight is out of mind begins early.

In the month of May I’ve managed to remove over 500 pieces of rubbish from Chippenham … but this is just the tiny tip of a very big iceberg.

If we want to do something about the problem with litter and waste practices in our community, far more attention must be given to litter prevention: better education, better enforcement of fines and social consequences, and all around better recognition that not only are we rapidly trashing our planet, but that we are the only ones who will be able to fix it–after all, it is a problem we are causing ourselves.

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