Rural rant

‘I’ll just chuck it out the car window rather than take it home.’

What is it with some people?  Do they never stop to look at the unsightly mess their litter is creating. They’ll most likely be driving that road again and driving though the unsightly mess they’ve created. Do they care? Apparently not.

Litter I really hate to see rubbish dumped at the roadside. We talk so much about caring for the environment these days yet some people just don’t give a damn. Do they think someone’s going to pick up their trash? In the city perhaps, but not in the countryside where I live.

I put it down to bad parenting, bad attitude and not enough emphasis in school on teaching about litter and the consequences on our environment from dropping litter. These things have got to be taught from a young age so good habits are developed.

Yet some countries seem to have mastered the litter problem. Switzerland, for instance. Some of you may have seen the endless repeats of Swiss Railway Journeys on UK satellite TV. Great program. But just look how litter-free the country is – even at the side of the rail track! You won’t see a speck anywhere! Anyone who’s been to the UK will know that the side of the rail track is just about the worst place for litter. And it’s not just me whose noticed it. I spotted this comment on a blog recently:

…I happened to see a few minutes of Swiss Railway Journeys on the travel channel and there was this pristine countryside without a piece of paper or plastic in sight – how refreshing.  Other countries have turned their litter problems around so maybe South Africa should put some effort into this as well.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a clean environment…

So South Africa also has the litter problem. What can we all do about it? Probably not a lot. In an earlier post, I’ve already mentioned the benefits of exercise when listening to tech podcasts. I’ve taken to picking up the litter twice a year on the stretch of road that I walk daily and my neighbour is doing the same. I get some strange looks as I wander along, earbuds in, rubber gloves on and carrying a large black sack full of trash. But perhaps some drivers will get the hint that some folk actually do care for the environment and how it looks and take a pride in their country.

It’s a bit upsetting though when, about a fortnight after you’ve picked up every last scrap of litter, the stuff miraculously starts to reappear again as if sprouting from seed. Now that the grass has died back a bit after the summer, I’m going to start on my 6-monthly tour of duty and try and clear everything up again. Beside, it’s much nicer walking in a litter-free environment.

I’d urge you all to do the same. Okay, it’s not going to make a huge difference globally, but it’s nice to do your bit in your local area. Indeed, if everyone looked after their local area, we wouldn’t have a litter problem.

Does litter bother you? Is their a litter problem in your country? Do you do anything about it? I’d love to hear what you think so drop a comment below.

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