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  • Deborah A Allen

Footprints


I realise it’s almost unavoidable, we all create rubbish. That’s down to the way we live but we can all do little things to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce, and we can all stop actively dumping rubbish.

Last week I heard that the place I live (Friesland) had been voted third in the list of European places to visit it was described as a hidden pearl.

It’s nice that other people think like that about the place you live, especially when some of the residents don’t seem to value what they have at all.

I’ve spent the last few weeks waging a war (albeit a little one) against people who think its ok to dump their rubbish on the street. Instead of using the recycling bins on the corner of the street to put their old paper and glass in they have decided that it’s a great place to dump everything from old vases and fish bowls to boxes of paper and old microwaves. I’ve been taking photos of the rubbish especially from those stupid enough to leave their name and address on it and sending the evidence to the local council.

I bet when confronted about their illegal dumping of waste each one of these people will say ‘it was just one bag’ or ‘I only did it once’ but what they fail to realise is that while they only saw one bag it was part of a much bigger problem. Because once one person does it other people think they can do it too and soon that one bag is plus one microwave, and plus one box and then it’s a small pile and an it’s an eyesore.

Suppose we all thought ‘oh it’s just one bag’ that would be 100,000 bags of rubbish dumped in my town alone. Imagine visiting a town where 100,000 bags of rubbish where dumped on the street. That would be awful.

So, a better town and a better world begins with us. Now I know we can’t all change the way we shop or the way our goods are packaged overnight but if we all make little changes we can help...

Don’t think I haven’t noticed how you all click the little angry or cry icon on social media when you see the dolphin choked in plastic bags or the duck with the plastic beer can holders round its neck, but did it ever occur to you that that could be the can holders or plastic bag you threw away last week. You know, when you reasoned to yourself ‘oh its only one bag’?

Using less plastic bags is a start, try to use long life or fabric shopping bags. Buy loose produce when possible instead of the fruit on a tray wrapped in plastic. One of my local supermarkets now shrink wrap cucumbers and lettuce as well as some carrots and paprika. So, I don’t buy my fresh veg from them anymore. Using your wallet as a weapon is a good way to make supermarkets listen.

Using recycling bins properly is another way to help without it costing us a penny. Glass and paper put into a recycling bin is a great way to help reduce rubbish without it costing anything except a bit of effort.

My husband and I love to walk in the countryside and one of the worst things I see on my walks is rubbish left in the countryside. I know there is a big push about picking up 3 bits of rubbish every time you go out, but I can understand why people are a little reluctant to do this, after all you don’t know who’s rubbish it was or what nasty things you are exposing yourself to but what you can do is make sure you do not leave any rubbish behind yourself.

I know its old fashioned but instead of throwaway coffee cups take a thermos flask with you and a sandwich box. Its cheaper and it creates less waste that’s a win win situation.

Besides if you trekked miles into the countryside with a full water bottle or packet of sandwiches how hard can it be to put the empty (much lighter) bottle or packet back in your bag and take it home again?

In public places treat other people’s property as you would your own. If my dog were to toilet outside your house and left it there you would be angry, and rightly so, it’s disgusting, and good dog owners clean up. But how many people drop cigarette butts or cigarette wrappers, let their children drop sweet papers on the floor or throw away crisp bags? The rule is if you wouldn’t want it left in your garden or outside your house don’t leave it in someone else’s. In the countryside just remember that old saying, take nothing but photos leave nothing but footprints.

Please try, it’s not asking much just a little thought and consideration. Think about it, if we all threw away just one less piece of rubbish it could really make a difference to our landscape. The wildlife will thank you for it too.

That better world we all want really does begin with each one of us taking a bit of responsibilty.


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