Why Do They Do It?

We live in a beautiful part of the world, and I know we are lucky to live here. What I can’t understand is those people who also live in this area (or at least pass through it and so enjoy its beauty) and then spoil it by leaving litter.

As part of our WI, I have been helping to organise a parish-wide litter-pick each in early spring for over ten years. Each year I am once again struck by the thoughtlessness, laziness and dirtiness of people who deliberately discard rubbish as they pass along our roads. I guess that a lot if it is cast from their car windows, though evidence suggests that some of these litter-bugs have a routine, perhaps even parking up to eat / drink / smoke and chuck the rubbish.

This year, in a 500 metre stretch, there were multiple empty Monster energy drink cans and bottles and empty Lambert and Butler cigarette packets. This has to be the same person, over a length of time, deliberately littering and spoiling an area that, as spring comes on, will be decked with daffodils, star-like flowers of ramsons, bluebells, red campion, primrose, stitchwort and foxgloves.


Lazy? Secret smokers? Badly brought-up? No social conscience? Just plain dirty?…….

I just can’t get into the head of the person who throws their rubbish down wherever they are. Are their homes littered with rubbish? Are there cigarette butts (which ARE litter – taking up to 10 years to disappear) and packets on their kitchen floors, empty bottles and cans on every surface or wedged  amongst the house plants, crisp packets in drifts in the corners, newspapers, receipts, water bottles and plastic bags bestrewing their carpets?

And then there are the ‘dumpers’, those people who drive out to a lovely spot and dump a bag of household rubbish, or an old video player, or paint cans …  when they could have driven just as easily to the council dump and left it there – at no cost. Why do they do it? And, yes, these were real examples from yesterday’s litter-pick.

 So, each year a hardy bunch of wonderful people volunteer and, armed with litter-grabbers loaned by Clean Cornwall, help clear our beautiful parish of this detritus – this year sixteen turned up.  Here are  just two of our volunteers that I caught up with, Rob and Sara (or 3, if your count Freya – who went along for the walk) and just a couple of the bags they filled.

I wonder if I found the weirdest thing this year?  A pair of size 9 or 10 thigh-length, lace-up, high-heeled, pointy boots in black imitation leather with the  heels and soles just about broken off, and great cuts through the ‘leather’. These, about 4ft up a steep bank!   Now you know me, well you ought to by now if you’ve been reading this blog, I am a writer. So, how long do you think before the finding of these items started off an idea for a story?  A  murder mystery perhaps, starting with a village litter pick – the victim being ….. well I’ll let you think about that and save my thoughts for another day when I am looking for inspiration!

And here’s the total haul from the roadsides around our beautiful parish.

Twenty-eight bags of rubbish, a video recorder, two wheels, 2 broken cones and some lengths of melamine coated board and plastic fencing.

The sad thing is, by the time you are reading this ( less than 24 hours after our litter-pick), there will be new litter cast down somewhere in our patch.

So, why do you think they do it?

Any ideas on how to teach people not to litter?

Who do you think the ‘murder victim’ might be???

You know I love to hear from you – do share!


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