Face up to the consequences of dropping litter

The beauty of local country parks and nature spots are undeniable, writes Abbie Dodson.

Sunday, 9th September 2018, 1:01 pm
Discarded beer cans. Photo by Pixabay.
Discarded beer cans. Photo by Pixabay.

As a frequent visitor of Rother Valley Country Park, the Linacre Reservoirs, and Holmebrook Valley, it’s sometimes a little overwhelming to have all of them on your doorstep.

Whilst I love these places, and enjoy going there, one thing that always tarnishes the beauty somehow, is litter. Whether it’s the odd crisp packet slung into a hedge, or a McDonald’s packet dumped carelessly in the car park, these manufactured additions are very unwanted.

In this untypical English summer that we have been enjoying, more people than ever have been whiling away their spare time at these places, often enjoying picnics, or even barbecues. I love to see this, it’s nice to know that people take the opportunity to be outside, instead of scrolling through Facebook or glued to Netflix. However, when people don’t pick up the mess they’ve made, they are doing more harm than good.

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Country parks are often unofficial nature reserves, with wildlife flourishing, especially at night. Around one of the areas I mentioned previously, rabbits can often be seen scampering around in large groups, as well a variation of ducks. Litter concerns me in this respect, as the animals often frequent the embankments and areas where people choose to eat, and any plastic that has been left could cause them serious harm.

When I see a paper plate and a disposable barbecue left haphazardly on the grass, I’m instantly reminded of an anti-litter campaign from my childhood.

I’m very aware that park staff in all of these country parks and locations work extremely hard to prevent this from happening, and praise them for their hard work. But why not help them in the first place, and just pick up your litter? It is yours, after all.

It’s not just country parks that have this issue. The amount of times I have stepped in chewing gum is countless,

A lot of people also drop litter from their cars as they are driving, such as takeaway packaging or empty cans. I see this as seriously irresponsible. A few weeks ago, everybody was changing lanes on a busy road to avoid an old rug that someone had tossed from their window.

I don’t believe that people who litter mean to cause harm by their actions, I just don’t think they look at the consequences of their actions.

Please, take the time to throw away your own rubbish properly. It might seem like ‘too much effort’ to take that carrier back to the nearest bin, but if you leave it, it will be hanging from a tree for years; a flying eyesore. It takes a minute to clean up after yourself, but a very long time to degrade.