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.