Why is it that some people think it’s OK to leave litter on The Stray? (A central public green space in my hometown of Harrogate, North Yorkshire). Not just the odd sweet wrapper, but the remnants of a whole ‘picnic’.This morning, at about 06:00 I walked my dog, near the bit of The Stray that currently has the Fair on it, and was presented with a scene of carnage. I was really saddened to see such a scene – glass bottles thrown about, plastic food wrappings and (the worst bit) 2 used nappies.
What kind of example are these parents setting their kids?
Is it a total ignorance to the fact they are wrong doing? Is it some kind of bravado ‘two fingers up’ to the system, a stick it to the man kind of gesture? Is pure laziness “no one’s looking – let’s leave it” reasoning? Is it that they have the ‘it’s keeping someone in a job’ attitude? It could even be a statement about how we pay a fair bit more tax than some of our neighbouring towns and cities, so therefore they should get their monies worth? These are all anecdotal. There’s got to be some reason why people leave litter on The Stray. Is could be that they honestly don’t know what do do with it, or think they are doing no wrong. The odd ‘accidental’ litter drop – can’t be helped but to leave stuff like glass on the floor – especially as one has a nappy aged dependant, prone to barefoot explorations this time of year – is disgusting and dangerous.
How do we fix it?
The Council – I’ve not seen eye to eye with them on all matters over the years, but as far as litter management and parks management goes, they do (in my opinion) do a really good job. They’re pretty much ‘on it’ when it comes to the day after a sunny day on The Stray and regarding bin placement – I feel there’s enough bins around our open spaces – but – they are only ‘fire fighting the problem’. I believe we need to think ‘fire prevention’ and get the the heart of the matter. Is it an educational gap? A fault of our ‘modern’ culture and society where the word Respect is in common parlance, but the action (in the traditional sense) isn’t?
This morning, I tweeted about the nappies, and asked “How do we educate?”
@sharoncanavar wrote “that’s shocking. Dunno what the answer is though, I’ve asked people to pick up before & just got abuse”
@DeanMDyble wrote “it’s a disgrace, bring back the birch and possibly some hanging.”
I must say, I empathise with Sharon – I once saw two very young girls pushing toddlers in pushchairs. One of them threw a bottle up in the air to see it smash. Shocked, I confronted them and got a load of abuse for my trouble. I did say they “didn’t deserve to have children” which I actually felt bad for doing.
Regarding Dean’s response – To illustrate with a stereotype; the only person of authority ‘these people’ (specifically the kind of people who leave glass and nappies on The Stray) listen to at the moment is perhaps Jeremy Kyle. Perhaps JK is the key.
Perhaps though, there is something us good eggs can do about it. I don’t think we can tackle it as individuals (see two example above) and I don’t think we want to turn The Stray into a police state, but could the answer be education? Could it be punishment? Awareness?