Sunday, 10 May 2015

A Love of the Beauty of the Countryside.

There really do seem to be an awful lot of people who do not care two hoots about the beauty of the countryside.   Do I look back to my childhood with rose-tinted specs?   I hope not, but maybe I do when I say that there was little or no rubbish lying about.

My father and I used to walk miles looking for nests (and leaving them untouched once we had found them) - wrens in lane-side banks, yellow hammers in hawthorn hedges, blackbirds in holly hedges.  We would take our wild flower book and identify (but not pick apart from perhaps one bloom for me to press in my wild flower diary) any wild flower we passed.   We would look up leaves in my tree book to identify the tree.   Did we ever leave, or even see, any rubbish?  Not that I remember.

I have spoken many times on this blog about folk driving down our lane and throwing beer cans, fish and chip boxes and papers, out of car windows.   I go round with a bag and rubber gloves and pick the rubbish up from our bit.   But why do they do it?   Do they not appreciate that there is such beauty in the countryside and it should not be desecrated?

Luckily round here we do not get too much fly-tipping.   Perhaps it is because we are not near to any big urban conurbation.  We, on the whole, don't get the dumping of white goods (fridges, washing machines etc.) - after all we have a jolly good tip in our little town and private individuals can take any of these items and leave them free of charge.  (Companies have to pay I believe, but surely it is not beyond the bounds of their intelligence to add on the cost of this to the original estimate.)

In the year 2013/2014 did you know that local authorities in England spent a total of £45.2 million on the removal of fly-tipped waste?   500,000 enforcement actions were carried out, local authorities spent £17.3 million in carrying these out.   It is an offence and and there were over 2000 prosecutions.

From the end of this month another law comes into effect - that of fly-grazing.  It will be illegal to graze a horse and if one is grazing on a farmer's land without permission the farmer can detain it.  The same applies to local authorities and horses found grazing on common land, roadside verges, village greens and the like.   The sad thing about this is that many of the animals we are talking about are probably not wanted anyway - farmers don't want them either and they become desperate for a home (a horse sanctuary, or worse).

I look out of my window this morning on green fields, blossom, neat hedges just coming into leaf.  The whole world is beautiful and yet it can be spoiled by the thoughtless few who choose to throw their rubbish out rather than make a tiny bit of effort and take it to a tip.   Sometimes I despair.

Reading this through it does occur to me that the invention of plastic bags has a lot to answer for (none of that around when I was a child).  Not only plastic bags blowing about in the breeze but also scraps of plastic draped about in the hedges along roadsides.

19 comments:

northsider dave said...

I notice lots of rubbish in the Irish countryside Weaver too. Plastic must kill lots of wildlife. I think county councils should provide more litter bins then people have no excuse to discard their litter.

Heather said...

I can't think why plastic bags can't be banned. Shoppers would soon begin to remember to take their own bags with them when they went to the supermarket. Foreign visitors must think we are a mucky lot when they see the state of our roadsides and pavements.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

You'd think, wouldn't you, that people who go to the trouble to climb to the top of a mountain might appreciate the natural world. Why else would you do it? But even mountain tops can be littered with empty beer cans. Now, if you can carry a full can up, you can surely carry an empty one down. Apparently not.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

We have a major fly grazing problem here, and the council has started to try and confiscate horses found on public land. They say they will sell them on, but these piebald cobs are worth nothing anyway...£5, £10.

So what will become of those horses?....

Joanne Noragon said...

Our road has eight homes. Our road is a dead end, used only by people who live here, who visit here or who cannot read the "No outlet" sign. Every week I have my granddaughters go up the road and back to our house, collecting the trash.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

You could have written this about the U.S. It shames me that people are so lazy as not to put a litter bag or container in their car so they can take their trash home and put it in their garbage can. I've seen people throw things out their car window just before they turn into their drive way. I once asked a friend why she did that - and her reply was that she certainly didn't want HER yard to be messy so she threw things out before she got home. Guess she didn't realize that the whole world is her yard.

We have clean up crews - some volunteer - some from the jail - that pick up trash along roads - and often there will be 5 to 10 garbage bags ever few feet, filled with trash, waiting for the collection truck to come along and pick the bags up.

In our town (Bellingham, WA and also in Seattle) plastic bags are banned. We had been using reusable totes long before the bags were banned - and it is amazing to see how many people now remember to bring their totes (or have to pay 5 cents for a recyclable paper bag) now that it is the law. But what annoys me is that when we shop in towns that are nearby and don't ban plastic bags the clerks often make snide remarks about our totes - "Oh, you must be from Bellingham, - no plastic there, you have to carry your own bag, we are not like that". Well I say shame to them for not banning plastic bags. It is also law in Washington state that each car must be have a litter bag - though one can tell by the litter on the roads that not all are complying.

I saw that San Francisco, CA has been the first city to ban single serving bottles of water for sale in the U.S. Another good idea- get a reusable water bottle or cup if you need to carry water with you.

We have an elderly neighbor who walks his dog and carries a long handle grabber and picks up trash every morning. Even in our private housing area there are those who will throw items out their car windows - lazy and thoughtless - that is what I think.

Mac n' Janet said...

The invention of plastic bags and fast food both contribute to the trash we see on the roadside.
Here in Georgia prisoners are used to clean the verges, a good use of them I think.
We've been preaching and teaching about littering for 50 years or more and all I see is more litter.

MorningAJ said...

We live about 100 yards from a chip shop and 200 yards from a pub. We get wrappers and polyboxes and even pint glasses dumped in our road.

jinxxxygirl said...

Weaver .... When i was young i saw a commercial on TV. It was in the 1970's and it had an indian in it and that commercial forever changed the way i think about littering ... They say what we watch on TV does not affect us or mold us into who we become as adults but i beg to differ... As i get ready to turn 50 in a couple years i can see how the TV i watched in the 70's and early 80's helped to influence the person i'am today... I think of the shows parents let their children watch today and i cringe..

My daughter was raised to never litter. She grew up with parents who never littered... You stuck it in your pocket or the floor of your car until you got to a trash can... Parents are not parents today... its too much trouble to teach your kids right and wrong these days... Hugs! deb

jinxxxygirl said...

I'm so sorry to bother you with another comment Weaver but i noticed someone mentioned banning the use of plastic bags....

I lived in CA for three years and you would not believe the opposition to banning plastic bags... Banning plastic bags was actually passed by the Governor and immediateley the plastic bag companies appealed the decision... so who knows if it will ever actually be enforced... People don't like change....... Even if its good for them or the environment... They will resist it right to the end...

Let me tell you what helped us change.. We lived in Germany for three years and when you go grocery shopping in Germany you have to bring your own bags or boxes... its just the way it is.. its the normal.. so you adjust and change and learn... And now even to this day to bring our own bags feels normal to us... Change can be a beautiful thing..... Hugs! deb

angryparsnip said...

I was raised to not litter and I raised my children that way too. I remember one time when I was walking with my son and he had a small wrapped candy after he took the wrapper off he touched my hand and gave me the wrapper.
When they were small I always said never throw trash on the ground give it to me. I remember this as the first time he did it on his own with no prompting. Small victories. Nicer world.

cheers, parsnip

Gwil W said...

There was less litter. Much less. I know because when I was a child and went to Lancashire on holiday I used to look out for it on the journey. I think those "No Litter in Lancs. Thanks." signs that one saw in quiet a few places in the county worked to great effect. I never dropped litter in Lancashire. And in those days I don't think many other people did either. Sadly, standards have fallen terribly. Oh, somebody else will pick it up, is the motto today.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Over-packaging is a problem, too. I received a prescription medication by UPS the other week. A plastic bottle as big as my fist came in a box that came in a large plastic-lined envelope that came in a large cardboard box.

Penny said...

South Australia is the only state in Australia who bans plastic bags, we all take our own bags, and has a 10 cent refund on drink bottles. It doesn't completely stop littering but helps a lot.

Cro Magnon said...

What will the owners of pukka horse drawn gypsy caravans do? I've always liked to see a tethered horse grazing by the side of a colourful wagon.

re the litter: The only thing you didn't mention was the amount of fines received. I remember in Brighton seeing thousands of dog fouling notices (£500 fine) being attached to street light poles.... when I asked the council how much they'd received in fines, they refused to tell me!

Gwil W said...

Cro, here in Vienna the penalty is €36 a dollop. Walking the short distance to the tram stop the other day I passed €252 worth of dog muck. It's potentially a valuable resource. But no official comes to cash in on it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems it is much the same the world over sadly. Thanks for contributing.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Something that winds me up is the dog owners who pick up their dog's poo (good start) and then throw the filled bag into the trees! In some places alongside footpaths the hedgerows are festooned with these bags. Grrrr

Terra said...

Horses grazing along the road or park are a welcome sight. That law sounds outrageous. Litter is a big peeve of mine. On my walks I pick up plastic and use a tissue to pick up cigarette butts (gross and toxic). Where I live if this litter gets into the storm drains it flows directly to the ocean. Horrible.