Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Enough of Gordon: Now on to UK's Urban Squalor
After all that stuff about the election that never was, I'm returning to one of my favourite soap-box issues: our national tendency to sully our land with piles of litter. I have three pictures to illustrate my theme:
1. Picture One is taken on the road close to my home. I have lobbied my councillors, my council officers and sent letters to the local press but still the single litter bin on this much used road- not least by kids en route to school-remains unemptied for days at a time. In front of it you see the three bags of litter collected by myself and my partner along a mere 150 metres of the road. Yet our local council, Stockport, has the temerity to publish self congratulatory articles in its Civic Review about how it has achieved such high rating assessments and how much extra cash they have received for cleaning up the town(some evidence would make a nice change). It remains the most disgracefully dirty town I have ever seen.
2. Picture Two is of a recycling unit in Bavaria, Germany, where people can leave most material free of charge but have to pay to leave certain hard to dispose of items. Householders choose to have large, medium or small rubbish bins according to how much rubbish they produce and how much they recycle. It works(see below) Why don't we adopt a similar system over here?
3. Picture Three is of the square in Kaufbeuren, an hour south-west of Munich. It offers no sign of any litter, even the occasional sweet wrapper, though I did find a few dog ends lurking between the cobblestones. If the Germans can keep their towns so pristine and sparkling, why can't we for God's sake?
I'm fairly sure my Victor Meldrew rantings are echoed in towns and cities all over the nation. One opinion poll in Southall recently revealed litter as the number one source of complaint. Once an area becomes knee deep in detritus, people stop treating it with respect and subtle deterioration is set in train. It makes me feel weak with frustration and irritation that nothing is done about it, either locally or nationally.
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