One Piece Practice: Let’s Eradicate Litter

“The cost to the taxpayers for street cleaning is over £1 billion a year.”

– Keep Britain Tidy

Britain in the summer time is quite a spectacular sight. Every beachfront that is essentially barren land for the rest of the year is suddenly swarming; children with melting ice creams, paddle boarders and sunbathers. Our local parks are covered with adults terrified of getting hit with children’s footballs, every dog walker in a 5 mile radius and teenagers hiding their beers under their picnic blankets every time the council goes by. I can’t think of a happier time than when the sun is out in the UK.

But the day after, when the rain inevitably comes is a slightly less enjoyable. Besides the rain you also see the leftovers of human visitation: napkins, wet wipes, broken footballs, water bottles, beer bottles, disposable BBQs all left behind. The £1 billion of taxpayer money that is spent on cleaning up litter doesn’t even include parks and other public spaces.

A while ago, I went for a walk in my local park. Living in a city can be draining without a visit into nature every once in while. I took a book with me, found a great climbing tree, found a good branch and sat and read. Perfection. However, after I climbed down and dawdled around the park I noticed all of the litter that had been left from the previous weekend. Cans and cans of cider, energy drinks and soda, crisp and chocolate wrappers blown into the hedges from the wind. I started to pick up what I saw and popped it into a bin as I passed it.

It’s quite disheartening seeing how much litter can be found in spaces that are created or preserved for our enjoyment. You start to wonder how little respect people can have for their natural environment and not think about the consequences of their actions; litterers aren’t only making public spaces look worse but they’re also harming local wildlife.

Of course we can take steps to try and make people aware of the consequences of their actions, but there is more we can do. And it’s not a toughie. If one person picked up one piece of litter each time they were in a public space it could eradicate the litter completely, if more people were to pick up litter than were to leave litter behind.

I know that it’s hard to comprehend why we should picking up other peoples litter, after all we aren’t the ones causing the problem in the first place. The truth of the matter is, Keep Britain Tidy research has shown that the more litter there is in a public place, the more litter will be left behind. We also need to be educating the future generations that littering has an effect on the environment and that disposing of waste correctly is one way to help prevent damaging it.

So let’s see what we can do, share your pictures with me, using the hashtag #OnePiecePratice and tag @ethicallynomadic. Of course the more pictures there are, the less litter there is in park and you can enjoy your evening walk without the sight of litter blowing in the wind.