Colin Blumenau talks waste disposal

Sunday, February 2, 2014
9:02 AM

I WAS JUST THINKING …

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I WAS JUST THINKING …

… about rubbish. Allow me to clarify. I think I’ve already written enough about the Great North Herts Recycling Debate to fill a grey bin. Or is it purple, or brown? Or is it that box? You know the one that you put the paper in and dutifully place it on the kerbside so that the WDOs [Waste Disposal Operatives] don’t have over-exert themselves by walking up your garden path. You know what I’m talking about. The blue one. The one in which the paper gets wet when it rains and then the NLRSCs [No-Longer-Required-Substances Collectors] refuse point blank to take it. Something, I understand, to do with EU regulations as to the recyclability of sodden paper. Truly!

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to hear that I’m not going to write about recycling. This week’s observations are about other kinds of unwanted products and their disposal. Walking along a pretty BOAT [Bridleway Open to All Traffic] the other day, I was surprised to see a screen of an abandoned computer glinting in the sun through some carefully arranged foliage. It was a neat job. It was only the angle of the sun and the relative position of the screen that gave its presence away. Never one to shrink from the responsibilities of an investigative journalist, I began to clear away the leaves and branches which covered it. It might have contained sensitive information. It didn’t. The green stuff wasn’t just laid over the top to hide the presence of the misplaced piece of redundant equipment. It had been wound together in an attempt to make the visual barrier semi-permanent. Effort had been made. Pains had been taken. I couldn’t really understand why. Surely the disposal of such an item would be easier in a place intended for the precise purpose. The screen was too big to have been carried far so some sort of vehicular carrier must have been used. Like a car. So why not take it to the local tip? Having cleared the foliage away. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I was on foot and couldn’t bear it away. Intending to go the next day and, Samaritan-like, clear it away, I covered it back up and, with a healthy disdain, the dog cocked his leg on its corner.

Which brings me to another area of waste disposal which I find utterly bemusing. There is a new waste kid on the block of rubbish receptacles. It’s a bin very much for the twenty first century. A bin in which you are invited to deposit a waste product that has only been recognised for a comparatively short period of time. I’m talking about those receptacles of all that is extraneous to a dog’s nutritional requirement and for which their owners can now be fined huge amounts of money if they’re careless enough not to ‘scoop’. But who is it who plans where they go? Because clearly, and you’ve all seen the evidence, the bins only partially work. Some people dutifully poop, scoop, bag and dispose in the bins, some poop, scoop, bag and then discard the bag in the nearest hedge. Now that really distresses me. Having gone to all that trouble to do your civic duty by doing nearly the whole job [so to speak], why undo all the good work by desecrating a piece of natural habitat and endangering the well-being of all of our furry, slimy and feathered friends? I even saw a little top-knotted plastic bag stuffed down a rabbit hole the other morning.

The carelessness for other people’s environment is one thing and that is reprehensible enough. But the sloth that accompanies that disregard is astonishing. And I haven’t begun to talk about fly-tipping.

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