I recently returned from a pre-Easter holiday, but even
while away I can’t help but check out the litter situation during my travels. Especially
since the first thing I noticed on my way to Chippenham train station on
Wednesday morning was that the problem bin on the corner of Malmesbury Road and
Wedmore Avenue was in the process of being worked on. Was it being upgraded to a larger bin? Or simply removed on a temporary basis while
roadwork occurred on the corner? I would
have to wait until getting back to Chippenham to find out.
The first stop on our trip was London, and the amount of
litter there isn’t a surprise. I have
started to notice more things left on surfaces though, and it’s easy to see how
litter begins to collect: one item makes it okay for someone else to place a
second. I’m sure there would have been
more by these traffic lights if there was more room!
After a night in London, it was back on the train for a
visit to Legoland. Travelling by train
is a great way to see the country, but the amount of litter and piles of
flytipping visible along the tracks is staggering. According to an article from 2011, it costs
over £2 million a year for Network Rail to clean up trackside rubbish. Five years later, the problem only seems to be
increasing as it was rare, if not impossible, to see an area without litter.
We didn’t actually make it into Legoland, but that’s a
different story. However, during the
extra time we suddenly had in Windsor, it was clear they took cleaning
seriously. First, the High Street was
practically covered in bins: both sides had them about every 50 feet (or less). They weren’t worried about the bins ruining
the view of the castle, but seemed to recognise that they were a necessary part
of keeping the place tidy. Second, a
street cleaner was always visible somewhere along the way to get any bits that
may have escaped the open-topped bins.
There are five bins visible in this photo.
I realise that Windsor is in the position of being a tourist
magnet. However, it seems strange to me that
the message that is being sent is that visitors want cleanliness, but residents
of non-touristy areas will make do with any old rubbish. Admittedly this comes back to instilling pride
in local communities, but at the moment this is feeling very chicken or egg:
how can people feel pride if their towns are covered in litter, but without
pride, the “Why bother?” attitude—and the litter–will remain.
Despite these rubbish observations, it was nice to have some
time away, but it was soon time to head back to Chippenham and see what had
become of the bin on the corner, my long-time nemesis …
It has vanished. The
bin is gone and a concrete pad is in its place.
Will this be the base for a new, bigger bin? Or has the Council gotten tired of my
complaints and decided to remove it entirely?
If the latter is the case, they may have inadvertently started a social
experiment: will litter increase because there now no bins along Malmesbury
Road? Or, potentially, will this become
the site of a “ghost bin”, where people pile their rubbish because they are
used to doing so? There are a lot of unanswered
questions in this blog entry, so please stay tuned over the next few months to
see how things develop … and have a very happy Easter.