We need to play our part in beating litter

PUBLISHED: 18:31 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 11 May 2010

CAN we beat chronic litter problem? I read with delight that the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has launched a new initiative to champion our beleaguered countryside and town environments - calling on authorities and individuals to do

CAN we beat chronic litter problem?

I read with delight that the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has launched a new initiative to champion our beleaguered countryside and town environments - calling on authorities and individuals to do more to fight the rising tide of litter and fly-tipping.

Over the last months I have become increasingly aware of the chronic levels of littering in Royston.

Of course, Royston is in no way exceptional in this - but it's my town and our town.

How far can you travel before seeing your first cigarette, sweet or crisp packet, plastic drinks bottle or aluminium can, or a plastic bag snagged in a hedgerow?

Not many yards, I think, and that's not including the micro-litter of cigarette butts and the tiny bits of plastic, glass or paper blown into the crannies at our garden margins or along the bases of walls.

Left not to rot (because most of it takes years to break down) but to accumulate so that we end up living in an environment slowly degrading in quality without our noticing it, while the wildlife who share it with us have to literally crawl under it or snuffle through it.

The councils do their best with limited resources. They have their timetables for litter-picking. They employ the refuse collectors we see daily around the town - and what a thankless yet vital role they perform.

The kind of environment we choose to live in and to bring up our children to respect or disrespect is something that the whole community builds every day either through carelessness or care.

Every individual can influence it - simply by dropping litter or by picking it up; by throwing something out of the car window or by taking it home.

In today's world I often feel powerless but this is something I can do daily.

It's spring. How fresh, vital and pristine every new leaf and flower. How ugly the rubbish.

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