Thursday, 21 April 2016

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Julie standing outside St Mary's church in Orton Waterville
Julie standing outside St Mary's Church in Orton Waterville


This is me standing outside St Mary's Church (St Mary the Virgin) in Church Drive in Orton Waterville. St Mary's churchyard is a beautiful, peaceful place, being permanent residence to many cherished trees, the graves of some local parishioners and a number of war memorials, including the 12ft high parish war memorial.

Unfortunately, however, it is not the idyllic scene that it ought to be.

Here's the same photograph again, uncropped.

Julie, St Mary's and a discarded beer can
Julie, St Mary's and a discarded beer can


To the right of the picture, on the ground, is a discarded beer can.

Why do people do it?

Is it because there are insufficient litter bins in Orton Waterville? No, there are plenty of public litter bins in the area.

Is it an area popular with tourists who don't have the same respect for our heritage as we do? Seems unlikely.

Littering happens for complex reasons. The most obvious is thoughtlessness. However, sometimes it runs deeper than this. We keep our communities tidy and clear of litter because we care about them, feel proud about them and feel that we are a part of a community that cares enough for its environment and the wellbeing of others to keep it clean. To put that another way, littering can sometimes be a visible sign that some people in a community don't feel included or valued or part of something their proud of.

If you've ever been on one of our flash mob litter picks, you'll never look at litter the same way again. You will have a deeper understanding of the many ways litter hurts our environment and hurts our communities. This is one of the reasons why Peterborough Green Party organises community litter picking events. The very act of taking part in community litter picking helps everyone involved to feel a sense of ownership over the problem of litter. When you've spent an hour picking it up, you no longer feel like it's someone else's problem.

"Oh, the council will deal with that."

Peterborough City Council will certainly deal with some of it, but without community support it's simply impossible to keep every street clear of litter all the time.

At Peterborough Green Party we want Zero Litter and we feel this is achievable. However, Zero Litter will only come about when people drop less litter, when the community plays a greater part in picking up litter AND when the City Council makes periodic sweeps of whatever is left. Zero Litter is a community effort.

If you would like Peterborough Green Party to help organise a Flash Litter Pick in your area, let me know.

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