Last week, I passed a young offender with a supervisor and his punishment was to pick up street litter. He had a long collecting stick that kept him at a safe distance and he wasn’t required to delve into the roadside verge to pull out plastic containing Hell Knows What. ( David Sedaris’ revelations are stark.)
‘Fighting Litter’ tells of a huge reduction in littering in the Midlands where councils are employing a company called Kingdom who issue fixed penalty fines for littering.
After the Cumbrian floods the streets all around town were awash with litter. With so many people suffering acutely and out of their homes this was not the time to focus on street litter. Now spring is here, we have fine weather and Easter approaches. I’d like to live in a civilized environment, urban and rural.
Fighting LItter includes an interview with Chris Packham who makes the point that exponential population growth impacts on our litter problem. A civilized environment: ironic ' civilized.' It's citizens pouring out of town, drivers chucking out litter. It's clear that is the core of the problem.
The irony is I’ve let myself in for this one. In the early chapters of Cumbrian Contrasts I’ve mentioned that Ghyll Brow can be a rural idyll. Last week, I watched a tree creeper mousing up the trunk of a sycamore . I photographed the lovely green flowers of daphne laureola on the roadside verge. I listened to birdsong in the wooded Ghyll. I wrote ( briefly) of litter, and of sometimes clearing it up. I want to see tree creeper and snowdrops. But you can only shut out ugliness so far and to pretend it's not there is dishonest.
I long ago made the decision to confine anger to this blog. That way, I can write about natural beauty in Cumbrian Contrasts- keeping a lid on things that go wrong in a rural environment. All my photographs shall be beautiful. If I photographed trash I’ll bin the images. But sometimes we have to face up to the truth of what is happening in our environment.