We all know the pitfalls and perils of the plastic problem; it’s globally plaguing the world.
We are overrun with plastics, but equally what some people don’t look at is that we are overrun with rubbish as well. Litter, refuse, scrap, debris, dross and whatever other terms we can find that describe the issues we have with discarded goods and waste products. I say this because someone recently said to me, “Well it’s only plastic that’s the major problem isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not just that, which is bad enough by itself, it’s the garbage that society throws away in this disposable world we live in as well. People don’t seemingly care anymore, they just throw away everything, and not always in the right places!”
It will take us years upon years to clean up our act; too much damage has already been done, we are becoming a society of people’s who apparently never give a second thought to how we offload what we don’t want anymore and leave it for someone else to tidy up after us.
I live in a coastal village, we are not a town, but we have around 800 households, we are not really a true rural village, more of an urban village, just outside of Deal, in Kent. We are bigger than a hamlet. However, it doesn’t really matter what size we are, because the litter we have here is as bad as the town of Deal, or would be if it wasn’t for the diligence of litter pickers.
We are not a tourist spot per se, but we do have a large seasonal traffic from the months of March through to October every year because of the rural walking and rambling, the golf club, the small beach which connects to Walmer, some nice pubs, the large camp site and the holiday village and of course one mustn’t forget the residents of the village themselves.
The villages of Kingsdown and St Margaret’s sit in-between Dover a coastal town at one end and Deal at the other. We are around 40 minutes away from the city of Canterbury, and yet despite neither of the two villages being tourist spots we do see during the season, extremely high visitor traffic which can number in the thousands.
During the off season periods of November to end February, whilst the village itself is quieter and the visitor traffic is slower we still see large numbers of walkers and cyclers coming through.
As l have aged l have become even more concerned with the state of our planet, of our countryside, of the earth as a whole and as l say sometimes there is no Plan[et] B, so it is down to us to ensure that the planet we have is kept tidy, and we must all do out bit.
Can you imagine if every single person actually did their bit? Each time someone ventured outside their house to enjoy a walk, or the countryside and they each took a bag with them and collected just one bag of trash, what a difference that alone would make?
Programmes like Blue Planet 2, hosted by David Attenborough have helped enormously raising the much needed awareness to the plights our planet faces, and of course this awareness has promoted the negative aspect of the plastic pollution we face each and every day and of course the uttermost damage we are causing to our wildlife, nature and life in general.
Great! People are more aware and yet still every second of every day people continue to drop litter and discard waste like it doesn’t matter.
Recently, Suze has been collecting plastic bottles from the office where she works, so as to act as cloches and water feeders for the plants in the vegetable gardens. Suze uses a reusuable water bottle, and yet she was saying the other day that the two ladies she works with only use single use plastic bottles. That every day they buy a new bottle of drink and when empty discard the plastic bottle to the bin.
Suze said that of a recent conversation in the office only the other day she was astounded to hear that despite her two colleagues watching Blue Planet and openly criticising the plastic wastes, that when Suze raised their single use plastic bottles they looked at her as if she had two heads and remarked “The plastic problem isn’t England’s problem it’s everyone else’s!”
Suze was as baffled as l was when she recounted this tale to me, and YET, l have noticed many people saying things recently myself. I should imagine many of you reading today as in now, can probably relate? That so many people’s of society seemingly believe that this global plastic issue is ‘someone else’s fault or problem?’
I read recently that wildlife presenters were struggling to understand why they could not get people to relate to real life nature despite that in the last few years wildlife nature programmes have been made in such an open and approachable manner that should encourage people away from their homes and still they don’t. Instead we find much of society is all too welcoming of becoming armchair conversationists instead of looking at the problems which face them, preferring to stay online. They can become critics in the saftey of their own homes and tell everyone else that they are connected to the worlds problems because they have watched a programme and they nodded sympathetically and nodded at the appropriate moments. But the reality is that all our advanced technological progression is doing is distancing the problem away from society and simply promoting more of the goldfish bowl syndrome.
This took me back to the conversation Suze had had with her work colleagues, they recognised the problem, but saw it as someone else’s and still continued to use single use plastic bottles daily.
People are indeed distanced from the problems, like many other situations they prefer to ostracise it, bury their heads beneath the ground and push problems into corners and under rugs.
It’s also like when l see litter on the ground, l will pick it up and dispose of it into a bin, and yet people often comment as to why l am performing this ‘menial’ of tasks – “It’s not your job!” I am astonished at the attitude of the general public in many ways, in some cases many people are litter conscious and throw away their rubbish correctly but many more will not. Their attitude is ‘Why should l pick up another persons’ garbage, even if just to take it twenty yards to a bin?’ “It’s not mine, so not my problem!”
Has pride disappeared from people, do they care so very little for the way things are becoming?
Yet, here l am asking these questions of people, but pride starts from the top equally as much as it does from the bottom or the middle. The amount of times l have seen filled to the hilt local council bins, over flowing with rubbish, where society has tried to be responsible only to be horribly let down by the authorities, this same error can be seen in overfilling dog poop bins/
We all have to do something, all of us, our planet isn’t getting bigger, but if we continue to drop litter like tomorrow doesn’t exist it will just get smaller every day.
We all need to tread more carefully folks, we need to adopt a much healthier mode of green thinking if we ever hope to achieve a much reduced carbon footprint. But above everything, we have to learn that this is not someone else’s problem, but ours, all of us.