Litter Picking and the Couple
Who Are Doing it for Advent
We have all heard of advent calendars, but what about advent litter picking? A couple who recently moved to Aberystwyth in Wales from Bristol are doing a daily litter pick all through December for advent. Helena and Ed Garland moved to the town when Ed began his master’s degree at the university. They fell in love with the town and decided to do a daily clean of the beaches and footpaths each day during December. They both enjoy spending time near the sea, and they began filling a bag up with litter each time they went running near local beauty spots. The couple have also joined a local organisation called Aberystwyth Beach Buddies, who organise litter picking events in the local area.
The beaches of Aberystwyth are famous for the perfect conditions for surfing, but they are also often littered with plastic, glass, and cans. The Beach Buddies are a group of students and local people who keep the local beaches clean. They organise regular litter picking and beach cleaning events, particularly after big events on the beach, like barbecues in summer or the fireworks display on Bonfire night. The group say they cleared two full bin bags of rubbish that had been discarded from bonfire night alone. They stress that there are upwards of 40 bins on the promenade so there are no excuses for not disposing of rubbish properly.
What you can do about litter
- Pick litter up if you see it when you’re out and about.
- Report fly-tipping or littering to your local council
- Get involved in litter picking, especially in the countryside, where littering is becoming a real issue.
The problem of litter in the countryside
The main two issues around litter are that people think it is acceptable to drop it, especially when they are driving, and hardly anyone picks it up. It’s someone else’s problem and someone else’s job to pick it up. Campaigns and on the spot fines have gone some way to tackling the problem, but it’s difficult to change people’s behaviour and it’s difficult to catch people dropping the litter.
The countryside poses a problem. On an average mile of country lane, 147 pieces of litter are discarded. These include cans, plastic bottles, fast food packaging, cigarette packets and carrier bags. In towns and cities, the local authority usually has the responsibility of picking up litter. On a rural country lane, a piece of litter might never be picked up. And if there’s nobody around, who’s going to catch people?
Why you should get involved in litter picking
- You can get outside, get some fresh air and exercise
- You can really transform local areas in a short space of time
- Cleaning an area up prevents further littering. If people see an area that looks uncared for, they’re more likely to not care either and drop litter.
People’s attitudes towards litter
Why should I pick up other people’s rubbish?
If we all do nothing, no litter will ever get picked up. We can’t expect to be able to enjoy pleasant surroundings if we take the same attitude as people who mindlessly drop litter.
It's the council's job
A lot of the council tax you pay goes towards clearing litter, and this looks set to carry on increasing. We all need to take responsibility and stop thinking that keeping our local areas tidy is someone else’s job.
It's dirty and I might catch something
Most litter consists of plastic bottles, cans, and crisp packets. You can always wear gloves if you are clearing litter, and it’s no dirtier in theory than weeding your garden.