It is important not to throw waste on the ground. If you do, it speaks volumes. It’s so fundamental really, it’s like a cornerstone of having any sort of integrity as a conscious participant in life. At least that’s the feeling I got cycling down Dublin’s Grand Canal today. Some stretches are good, others blighted.
Walking down a street or canal-bank full of litter is sure to affect most normal people’s mood. I cannot look at heaps of rubbish and be cheerful. Even pretty small amounts piss me off.
Surely fishing in a canal only to leave your rubbish beside or in it is an immediately actionable, obvious contradiction. Not always the case it would seem. Likewise it’s hard to know what percentage of their brain a person who carefully places litter in trees is actually using. It be well below the supposed fractional average.
Like a lowest common denominator calling card – part of some peoples’ days actually involve throwing bags of rubbish out a moving car window, leaving an exploded mess all over the roadside, to glisten, rot and flap away in the wind as a reminder to all that you had in the very least, passed that way. A true champion of your own tedious cause.
I’m not sure where some people learn this sub-environmental attitude, I guess we all learn from those around us. So we are all to blame in a way. All that will matter to future generations is our collective impact. And almost all of us dump rubbish, but it is not called littering.
Litter is just so maddening.
Ireland may be known as the Emerald Isle, renowned for its green landscapes and windswept picturesque coastline, but we have a serious problem with litter. Roadside are generally quite badly littered, and many areas in Dublin are litter blackspots.
I see it a lot where I live – you see a plenty on a bike. There is so much of it around the Red Cow luas stop on the way into Clondalkin. Last time I checked it is not a dump – yet.
We’ve all done it at one time or another. If you are still someone who does, consider the following:
- Bringing litter such as an empty coke bottle to a bin is an almost infinitesimally small amount of effort on your part. If you can’t manage that, it’s not clear how you summon the willpower to drag your littering ass out of bed in the mornings either
- It could be eaten by animals, and they may die or get sick
- Someone else has to clean it up
- It ruins perfectly good green spaces
- Creates a bad impression for visitors
- Is lazy and a sign of your slow descent into madness
Waging a war against littering morons is certainly part of the solution.
The €150 on-the-spot fine currently in place is probably sufficient if it was enforced. I don’t think it is fair to expect the already stretched Gardai to be able enforce it very actively though – it’s a tricky one. However, unlike the recent ban on smoking in cars with children, I think it is neither stupid, excessive, or unenforceable and could take precendence over such alternatives which are likely to really waste Gardai time.
If most of us were driven to a dump and shown the amount of waste we produced in a year, we would likely be pretty disgusted. Rightly so, because it is disgusting. A large portion of it is not biodegradable. I’m not exempting myself from this either.
We are so removed from the effect of our actions that without a little imagination it is hard to see the connection between our what we do on a daily basis and the mountains of rubbish accumulating globally. We need a massive imagination expansion.
I ate a Tiramasu from Dunnes which were bought for friend’s birthday recently. This post just keeps getting better and better, but please – read on. Two packs of two, each one wrapped in some cardboard, with a plastic lid and in a plastic cup. What a waste of plastic!
I felt especially guilty about eating it and the ensuing waste – right after the ten seconds it took me to scoff the thing. It wasn’t recyclable – into the bin it went, off to sit somewhere in the ground for the next 1,000 years. Eugh. Eat and forget – it’s the grand-kids’ issue now. Or someone’s grand-kids anyway.
So I’m obviously not 100% green on this front, but am trying harder and getting better. A little effort goes a long way.
We all litter. Some of us are worse than others, and most of us divert it through socially-acceptable channels. What is socially acceptable can provide an illusory cover for actions which directly cause harm and suffering to the environment and other living creatures.
Man’s laws are no substitute for natural ones, and nature’s laws don’t care how carefully you dump your Mc Rubbish into Ronald’s smiley-faced bin. It’s still gonna end up in the ground somewhere.
Here’s some things that can be done that help keep the waste to a minimum.
- Carry a reusable water bottle / coffee cup
- Drink some tap or filtered water, it won’t kill you
- Don’t buy stuff that is wrapped in waste, like those Tiramasus. Prioritise recyclable stuff
- Buy whole foods, in minimal packaging, or none where possible
- Buy in bulk, saving on packaging
- Cook food in batches
- Get stuff second-hand, packaging free
- Learn to repair things & buy stuff that’s repairable
As always, prevention is better than the cure.