Reflections on litter

Dalrymple drove from Glasgow to London and found the entire route festooned with litter. Here he discusses what this says about the UK.
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Charlie » 02 Jul 2013, 09:44

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This from Hugo (son of Malcolm) Rifkind in the Times today:

...coming back from something like Glastonbury always makes me like it more. Yes, it's safe and tame. But what's wrong with that? I like the open-hearted pragmatism of it; the transcendent triumph of fun.


Can I presume then that transcendence now comes at a price of about £200? And may I also presume that "the transcendent triumph of fun" and "open-hearted pragmatism", give one the freedom to throw one's refuse all over the floor?

I wonder how many people commented on the scene around them as they left the site? Not many I bet. I reckon that most of them didn't so much as bat an eyelid. But, even if I presume that a few people were horrified by what they saw, I wonder how many of them did something about it? Oh, not to worry! Someone else will clean it all up!

I'm convinced that litter is now one of the clearest signs of the narcissistic age in which we now live. I don't think these scenes would be much different at any other "festival" around the world, but that just shows the extent of the problem.

I bet there were a fair few "greenies" there though, and I was interested to learn that the average age was 36. But our budding baby-boomers shouldn't worry - as Rifkind also says in his article:

And the festival has become, as a result, probably the safest place in the world to get completely off your head.


Credit then to the festival organisers for having developed the Glastonbury "experience" over the years. They now know how to give young British adults the perfect excuse not to grow up. After all, you can get "completely off your head" in safety and drop your litter everywhere!

I bet the 30somethings are glad that some of that 200 pounds they've spent will go towards the big clean up - that will help to assuage their guilt.

Well, I'm sure they'd feel a little bit of guilt if they weren't so busy thinking about themselves.

PS: Rifkind also informs us that:
You see toddlers running around with their parents' mobile phone numbers scrawled onto their arms in marker pen.


Mother: "Archie, Jemima, don't run too far away darlings. Mummy is trying to watch the Arctic Monkeys, ok?

Archie: "Where Daddy?"

Mother: "Daddy is getting a henna tattoo! Now you go and play with your sister"
Charlie
 
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Charlie » 25 Aug 2013, 11:30

A relative of mine has just been given an ASBO by his local council. Why?

Because he'd gone around his local area picking all the litter up (of which there was plenty of course) and placing it in a bag. Come collection time, he placed the extra bag of rubbish on top of his own household refuse, but the council refused to take away the extra bag and gave him an ASBO instead.

Btw, yes, he is planning to do complain about that...
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Gavin » 25 Aug 2013, 12:12

Incredible. But it reminds me of the time I was having my garden landscaped in London and I had to hire a skip for the gardeners to use - I had to get a parking permit from the council for it, etc. Someone came along and put their fridge in the skip. It would barely fit. The gardeners moved it onto the pavement and the next thing I knew I had a visit from the council, threatening to fine me. It was my responsibility to get rid of the fridge. The lesson, I suppose: watch skips every second of the day or cover them with locked covers.

Another time: just one single night in Balham we left the car unlocked, the boot fractionally open indicating this. That night the sat nav was stolen, everything else left in the car. The sense of community in London...

Your example is pretty outrageous, though. Bin men are incredibly fussy. I have found that if you don't have the right colour bag and exactly the right things in the bag, they will refuse to take them. Woe betide you if you have one too many bags, too, as your relative found out. No doubt they are following some bureaucratic rules justifying somebody's "job".
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Elliott » 25 Aug 2013, 16:12

Charlie, that is outrageous. I hope your relative does complain to the council, but it will be difficult to get them to believe that the bag contained anything but his own personal litter.

Gavin, bin men are fussy up here, as well. If a bin's lid is not completely down (for example if something inside is angling the lid up by an inch or so) they will refuse to empty the bin. Furthermore there's a rule about how heavy the bin can be before they will refuse to empty it: a single bin man must be able to drag the bin using only two fingers. I mean, it's just nonsense...!
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Charlie » 25 Aug 2013, 19:54

Gavin, just judging by those examples, getting out of London was a good idea...

Fighting the authorities there would have seemed just that bit tougher and just that bit more frustrating, I reckon.

Elliott and Gavin: yes, it's an utter disgrace that the council have issued an ASBO.

As for my relative, luckily, he does have a few things in his favour. He's a very respectable, middle-class, well-paid University researcher, living in the home counties. What I mean by that, and indeed what he means by that is that the newspapers will love this story...

I'll let you know how he gets on!
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Gavin » 25 Aug 2013, 20:25

Charlie, you mean he's a middle class white male? (Psycho sound effect)

And a non-Muslim? He's not checking many boxes. Tell him not to bother with the human rights lawyers - they won't be interested.

But I know what you mean - they may be have trouble framing him as a litter lout... Keep us posted.
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Charlie » 02 Mar 2014, 09:44

As the train pulled into London Euston station yesterday, I heard and saw the following exchange between a pair of idiots:

Idiot 1: "Is there a bin round here?"

Idiot 2: "Nah, there’s no bins. Bombs, innit?"

Idiot 1: “Oh yeah - I’ll just leave these here then”


Idiot 1 then dropped the 2 Costa coffee cups he had been holding on the ground. In his own mind, however, that must have been acceptable because some benevolent soul would pick it all up afterwards.

Walking through Euston station with such heavy items would clearly have been too much of a burden. Why not just throw it all on the floor? Any scintilla of guilt or doubt will have dissipated after 2 minutes anyway. The only thing that matters is the present moment, isn't it?

Should I have said something? Possibly. Let’s just say that I didn’t feel particularly good about keeping quiet. No one else seemed to notice, however.

Although I’m running the risk of conflating issues here (and sounding like an insufferable misanthrope), when I see such stupidity, any environmentalist talk (regardless of how right or wrong it may be) seems utterly laughable and pointless.
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Kevin R » 07 Mar 2014, 23:33

Looking at those photographs from the aftermath of Glastonbury festival, it somehow seems poignant to me that even as the contemporary youth (and latently adolescent papoose parent) gather for the annual wittengamot of mass transcendent rebellion, they seem increasingly engrafted to the corporate consumerism which fuels their hedonistic moot, and is usually always nominated as antithecal to the countercultural/anti-capitalist birthright they exercise.. Their spirit soars, but only parallel to the current on-site price of Evian bottled water, or Pringles Crisps.

As I pootle round in my jalopy along the lanes of Blighty, I can't help but think of this engraftment of transient consumption as yet again I go mile after mile after mile, and see the utterly astonishing cornucopia of detritus strewn across hedgerows and byeways alike. There must by now be thousands and thousands of tons of the stuff, enough to fill a hundred Wembley stadiums.There it all is, like plastic dew hanging on the branch, or (as the Doctor described) that strange shredded plastic sheeting akin to 'Buddhist prayer trees flapping in the wind'.

About three years ago I once took a walk along a very quiet country lane in East Yorkshire, near to the beautiful Burton Agnes Hall. It wasn't a particularly busy road, indeed it was somewhat remote. But as I walked I noticed this rubbish more and more. After I got back to where my jalopy was parked, I decided to retrace my steps, armed with some plastic carriers that I keep for just such a purpose as picking up particularly incongruous litter from the hedgerows. At the end of a half mile walk, I'd filled three carriers to capacity, and still had not picked it all up - including a carrier that someone had already filled with their sandwich cartons, Lucozade bottles and hamburger boxes which they had considerately tied a knot in to stop it all escaping, then tossed out the window into the hedge.

It's becoming such a serious problem on country roads, and I think that the advent of day-tripping and commuting betwixt supermarket and filling-station has meant that those who purchase packaged 'eat-on-the-move' foodstuffs have turned a blot into a plague.. The food is consumed speedily, and the detritus ejected equally as speedily. But I don't think they for one moment consider how long that plastic bottle, container, or tin can will sit in it's littery grave.

I loathe the habit.
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Re: Reflections on litter

Postby Charlie » 22 Sep 2014, 14:22

This should come as no surprise at all.

Emma Thompson hasn't been available for comment...
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