I’ll start this straight off the bat by saying 99% of people are responsible enough to not drop litter. It’s that tiny minority that is causing the issues. I get to spend a lot of time outdoors and notice if litter is an issue. This can be highlighted pre and post events as it’s clear if there are differences.
Litter is a problem for the environment and has consequences for the landscape and wildlife which are well known. It’s also incredibly lazy to not take away what has been brought in to these places. Seemingly there is an expectation that some kind of magic beings exist that can clear up after others. Well there isn’t.
I’m going to discuss a few recent examples and would like you to consider why this has happened.
Firstly, at the Kielder Chiller 24 a number of large bags of rubbish were left when the event was over. This was an event where everyone was on the course in their vehicles. That alone makes it inexusable to just dump a bag of rubbish by the side of a vehicle with the expectation that someone (myself or Forestry Commission) will clear it up. Take it away yourself.
Unrelated to the events I noticed a lot of empty bottles at the head of mountian bike trails in Thrunton Woods. These lazy feckers had enough energy to carry the full bottles up there so why can’t they take them out? Or do they expect well meaning organisations like the Thruton Trail Builders to just pick it up for them? Not good enough. I picked up as many as I could.
Gel wrappers. If one things grinds my gears more than anything else in an event it is people who have gels while running and then throw them on the floor. You took them in so take them out. At Thrunton I reckon there was one person doing this as the gels were always the same brand. If you are a fellow runner you can help: should you see someone delibertely throw away a gel please note their number and report it to the next marshal. I’ll be waiting for a chat at the next point they reach. People who drop gels (or any other litter) are not welcome at events. I’m pretty sure any event organiser will say the same.
Dog poo. This is one I just can’t get my head round. Why oh why would people go to the lengths of picking up dog poo, putting it in a bag and then dump it on the ground? I am not there to pick up bags of dog poo. What makes it worse is at Thrunton these bags were left next to the marquee, within metres of bins! This can equally be applied to any dog walker anywhere, there is no such thing as a dog poo fairy – you either bag it and bin it yourself or you just get a stick and flick it away to decompose. Do whatever, just don’t leave a bag of poo on the floor for someone else to collect.
Tissues. A recent article in TGO magazine highlighted this growing problem. For some reason people are seeing it as acceptable to use tissues/wipes and then just throw them away. I found quite a few on the route on the weekend. If one is being used for blowing noses or whatever then it needs to be carried out with you. These tissues are wipes were most prominent lining the road next to where cars were parked when everyone had gone. This means they must have been used while people were standing next to their cars and THEN just thrown on the ground? Why, why, why? Take the rubbish away with you.
Rant over. I’m sure you’re getting the general picture and understand that it’s a very small amount of people that do this. I’d like to think it’s just ignorance and these tendancies can be corrected. Don’t be afraid to speak out if you see it happening. I spend a lot of time with National Park rangers, Forestry Commission beat officers, farmers and land owners and all they want is to follow the accepted saying: leave it as you found it.
Help keep these places beautiful. Don’t drop litter.