I was delighted to read this week in the press a long-overdue attack by the government on the problem of litter in this country.
It defiles our streets, our footpaths, our highways and the railways. Fly-tipping mars the beauty of our countryside. I have recently spent some time in the USA, travelling widely around California. In spite of the vast area to be covered and the relatively small population, (relative that is to the population of the UK), the lack of litter is noticeable.
Our approach needs to be many-pronged and it will take time to re-educate people. The drink-driving campaign has taken many years to have an effect but it has changed our behaviour. Americans I spoke to told of an education programme in schools and of the need constantly to reinforce the message. Companies big and small, and in some cases individuals, take responsibility for sections of the Highway in the States, clearing litter, if any, on a regular basis.
Fining drivers can only be a small part of our approach. Drivers are not responsible for the littering of our footpaths, for the mess along our railways nor for the littering of our back-streets. We must educate everyone to see that to drop litter is to defile what we all share. Showing foreign visitors around our country over recent years has been a very embarrassing experience.
I am retired and I regularly pick up litter in Burgess Hill. I would gladly give up a few hours a week to join a task-force to clear some of the local footpaths for example because I know that money must be an issue here. There is a wealth of untapped goodwill. It should be used.
Burgess Hill countryside