Hey Blog friends! How are you?
A few weeks back the country started opening up again. And it was MAGICAL. We’re now settling in to travelling where we want to, meeting friends and extended family outside and the sun is FINALLY beginning to shine a bit more, a dream come true!
While all this loveliness has been happening, and people have been flocking to outdoor spaces, we’ve seen something that we haven’t seen in a while. A massive increase in littering. It’s such a sad reality that I can never get my head around, and something I really didn’t miss about normal everyday life, particularly in the summer. Obviously, I love a good blog chat! But I remembered that Tom wrote a little piece about littering in 2019, and it really rung true with the trends that are continuing today. So Instead of rambling, I thought I’d post it here!
The key to getting any point across is to keep talking about it. If you’re that passionate about a certain matter, no doubt there is another like-minded, cool bean who totally gets you and would endorse the vision you want to come to fruition.
I mentioned a few weeks back about how we ended up moving to Barry and falling in love with the coastal surroundings. I also touched on how we humans are not doing a great job of looking after these beautiful spaces, falling into a lazy trap of leaving our litter across the landscapes.
Now, change is definitely happening for the better. It seems to be every week now that a new high street chain is pledging to do away with plastic packaging, or a new country is ditching plastic bags. Even so, I fail to comprehend how we as humans aren’t actively ditching our garbage in a mindful manner. Sure, we Brits go into utter meltdown whenever the temperatures skew out of the norm… Below freezing point, the country stands still. Above 20 degrees, no man alive can hack keeping his shirt on when out in the wild (TAPS AFF, LADS). But does the sun cook our heads so much that certain people become devoid of responsible rubbish disposal? Everybody’s environmental awareness is no doubt heightened off the back of that final episode of Blue Planet 2, so why are some so inept when it comes to binning their crisp packets or ditching their disposable barbecues responsibly? What gives?
This weekend, Emma and I decided on a change of scenery, popping little Tymon (You’ve no doubt you’ve seen his face plaster over our Instagram as of late) in the car and headed out to Cosmeston Lakes. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday evening. Lots of other dog walkers around to chat with, family get-togethers with all the children playing in park — it was… almost perfect. With the masses flocking to soak up the sun, the influx of litter being left lying around was (it shouldn’t be, but it was) unsurprising.
I can only think of two main culprits of littering.
· Adults:- I’m not going to dwell on this. If you fall into this bracket and use excuses like “it’s only a bit of rubbish” or “it’s not my responsibility”, you are part of the problem. Pull your head out of your arse and stop being a dick.
· Kids:- They group together, are left to roam free from their parents on days out with food and will just ditch the crap they are carrying to crack on with fun times. I believe it’s lack of education on the consequences of not binning rubbish that stands out in this instance. Again, the responsibility here falls on adults. Children are easily influenced by the actions of their seniors and their morals are malleable. Parents should take the time to teach their children the snowballing danger that plastic pollution is causing the planet. Likewise, if teachers took the time to introduce projects or got pupils involved in a weekly litter pick, they’ll be setting them up for life of responsible consumption. After all, it’ll be their planet long after ours. Why would they want to eff it up any more than we have already?
During our walk, Emma and I had a bag with us, so we made a conscious effort to pick up whatever we could find. Plastic pop bottles, crisp packets, sweet wrappers and lots of tissues. It felt good doing our bit and we’re making a habit of taking a bag with us whenever we’re out with dogs. If we can make one person think twice about dropping their empty pack of Walkers, we must be doing something right.
If you’re finding littering a bugbear in your area, keep pestering your local council to get better at enforcing penalties for those who are dropping trash. I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen any enforcement officers around local walking spots in the Vale of Glam, so I’ve suggested to the council that they get willing members of the public involved. Initiatives like beach cleans are also massively beneficial to the community, so councils should ideally be promoting these. They are a great way to build awareness and are definitely something we want to get involved in make sure our coastlines always look beachin’.
I feel like I may sound a little self righteous and that I’m tooting my own horn, but I’m learning as I go. This time last year, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about turning a blind eye to someone lobbing an empty can of Coke in the bushes. Okay, I may have stretched to an overtly, typical British “tut”, but in light of Blue Planet II and Big Dave’s plight, I’ve thought back to my youth. I was lucky enough to have parents and teachers inform myself and my peers about the rights and wrongs of acting like a responsible human. I now know we all need to work together, do better for our planet and not leave it for our kids and theirs to be left with the clean up. I am a firm believer that if YOU believe in something morally beneficial to all, stand your ground and teach all who falter.
If you’re at your litter-filled local park walking the dog, take a bag with you. Be part of the clean up. Chuck it on instagram with tags like #onebagwalkies and #onebagsunday. You’re not some loner flying solo. People are doing their bit to clean up from all over and will praise your eco heroics. If you see someone chuck their junk on the floor, speak out. Get educating. Who can say you’re a loser for taking pride in our planet?
If they can find the time to eat it, they can find the time to bin it.