On the self-righteous litter-picker (me)

I collected two more bags of trash
On my walk today.
Stuff folk, unthinking, careless,
Chose to throw away‡
Into hedgerows on the public path
Oblivious of the aftermath.

‡’Away’ is, to me, a foreign land
It’s not a place I’d like to live
It’s dirty, smelly, squalid, vile:
Banish litter-louts there offhand
Their actions are tough to forgive
They make me quite hostile.

A crisp packet.
A plastic bottle.
A beer can.
A biscuit wrapper.
A covid mask.
… A thermos flask? (No kidding.)
Collect the lot; stuff it in the sack;
Round, and round, and round again.
It’s a tedious, never-ending task:
On the next pass, more is back.

It’s a thankless chore, it’s true:
The trash continuously accrues.
You may say, “Why bother?”
And I hear you.

I don’t do it for me.
(My time is almost up.)
I don’t do it for you.
(Although, in a way, I do.)
I don’t do it for my progeny.
(Of those I have none.)
Nor do I do it for yours.
(Assuming you have some.)

I do it coz
I’m sick and tired
Of seeing filthy crap
Everywhere I look.
In undergrowth;
Lodged in trees;
‘Hidden’ in bushes;
Floating in the brook.

So,
In a way,
I guess I do do it for me,
As this is what I much prefer to see:

A pleasant picnic spot (click to embiggen)

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in balance, Core thought, Environment, perception, Phlyarology, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to On the self-righteous litter-picker (me)

  1. COVID masks are the new version of cigarette butts, callously tossed along city sidewalks. And then there are all the bags of dog poop nicely scooped up, but then left discarded on the sidewalk. 😬 Good on you for taking the time to clean up after those too good to be responsible for their trash.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. spwilcen says:

    A brilliantly delivered piece! I often wonder, if there are laws against littering, [There are here in the US.] can one video the act so as to identify the culprit and deliver it to authorities making oneself such a pain in the ass those authorities start to enforce anti-litter law? Perhaps after a referendum assigning revenue from fines assessed to police agency budgets issuing warrants to incentivize police to press complaint to judges?

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      ‘Brilliant’? 😊 Thank you!

      A quick search led me to ‘statutory guidance’ on the gov.uk website: ‘Litter and refuse: code of practice‘ – but it’s dozens of pages of gobbledegook. And it was ‘modified’ in 2019: on the last page of that I see “A balanced approach to enforcement should strike the balance between national consistency, local circumstances, and fairness and effectiveness”. The use of the word ‘balance’ twice in that sentence says to me that they’re not serious about actually, you know, doing something about the problem.

      More digging suggests that, yes, it is illegal to drop litter in the UK, and a conviction can bring with it a £2,500 fine. (I wonder how many of those are actually issued?) Of course, even if I could catch a perp in the act, I very much doubt whether I have the physical strength to apply a ‘citizen’s arrest’ (not even sure whether that’s even a valid thing these days); or if (see ‘balance’x2 above) it would actually get me anything but charged with assault…

      Liked by 2 people

      • spwilcen says:

        Suggesting a video of the perp delivered to the local constabulary. Let them decide to issue summons. The incentive would be the policing organization would get some or all of the fine levied. Implies a judiciary willing to enforce video arrests. My gawd! They charge toll bridge fees by video here! Should work for misdemeanors. Just don’t get caught taking pictures…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was under the impression that your route is somewhat… rural? How is it that so much trash accumulates so quickly? Hmmm… is there a way to organize a neighborhood program? Maybe print out some leaflets (and deliver in hand or into the mailslot to hopefully not add to the trash outside). Or maybe there is some sort of local official that could add this to their program and basically say: ‘hey, I know you had no idea, but we don’t throw trash away on the ground. now that you know – don’t do it.”

    Like

    • peNdantry says:

      Yes, I live in a rural area. Trash accumulates quickly because, presumably, too many of my neighbours don’t give a shit about their own neighbourhood. A large quantity of trash tends to gather in areas where youngsters congregate; I blame the parents, myself.

      But a great deal of the crap is clearly discarded by truckers just passing through. This isn’t where they live, so why would they care? (And they oh-so-clearly don’t.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Keep doing what you are doing! (What gets me is finding empty beer cans along the highway!) 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      I don’t mind the empty beer cans so much; I can stick those into the recycling bin (in the somewhat forlorn hope that they will actually be recycled, not just dumped).

      What I really don’t get is the full (!) plastic bottles of various liquids (and while some of those contain urine, many more contain the original liquid. Why buy them… and then throw them away, unopened?).

      Like

  5. Dr Bob Rich says:

    My wife is one of the Garbage Grannies of our little town. They have been engaging in this beneficial form of exercise for years. And there is a Swedish sport (I forget the name, but then my Swedish is somewhat nonexistent) in which they do it while running.
    :)
    Bob

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hetty Eliot says:

    I’m one of those people who pick recyclables out of garbage cans

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pen says:

    In the before-times, I was a regular beach cleaner in a local group, cleaning the beach every Sunday morning. We cleared over 5 tons –yes, tons– of assorted litter ejected from the sea in three years. Hopefully the group will get back to iit as things have settled down, but I am also regularly clearing the hedgerows and verges of my regular dog walking route at home too. Amazing how many empty energy drink cans end up lodged 5 feet up a hedge –obviously the drink contains enough calories to give the van drivers an sudden overwhelming urge to do something physical… like wind down a window and throw the empty can out…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your poetry is an amazing message and your deed is very noble.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. parikhit says:

    Ah will we ever respect our surroundings and realise that we are a part of Nature and not above Nature. Here we are trying to colonize Mars but I (secretly) hope that mission fails for I don’t want the red planet to be dotted with plastic bottles and beer cans. On a serious note, if only each of us chose to be much more responsible and just clean up, a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      Indeed. Every single piece of trash I pick up makes me wonder what the litterbug thinks as they chuck it ‘away’. Or if they even think anything about it at all. Or if they’re capable of sensible thought. And I wonder, too, what their parents must have been like not to have instilled some ‘common’ decency into them when they were young.

      Such thoughts are not good for the blood pressure!

      Like

  10. revruss1220 says:

    Good job! I have done this a couple of times, but it is a hard thing to keep up with. Plus it makes me kind of furious with my fellow citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      I know exactly what you mean. I don’t like what it does to my thought processes about those with whom I share my planet. But I don’t intend to stop, not till I drop… probably becoming more and more curmudgeonly as I go.

      Like

    • peNdantry says:

      I was reminded of your comment here, just yesterday, on one of my now-regular litter-picking walks, Russell. What made me think of it was that, as I picked up yet another discarded plastic bottle, I realized that the fury I had felt when I began doing this a few months ago had morphed into pity. I now feel sorrow, rather than anger, for the poor souls who care so little for our wonderful planet.

      Like

  11. Pingback: #FOWC | Wibble

  12. We all got to do it,
    Because undo is the do!

    A very well-put poem. :-D

    Like

  13. Thanks for what you do. Thanks for reminding me I could do more. When I used to walk a young granddaughter to school, she would pick up trash, so I began bringing a bag for it. I need to get back to that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      You give me hope, and I thank you for that. Muhatma Ghandi is reputed to have said “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I understand that it is claimed that he never actually said that, but, nevertheless, it is a good message, and, particularly lately, I have begun to live by those words. Although it sounds highly presumptuous (and more than a tad pompous), I think that it is only by setting an example in the hope that others might follow, that we can hope to extricate ourselves from the shithole we’ve dug.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Pingback: On the self-righteous litter-picker (me) – Wibblings

  15. First of all, thanks so much for what you’re doing. We need more people like you. The video was fantastic! I love your poem and your attitude. Litter is a problem where I live (in Essex, UK). I sometimes go litter picking with a small group, but as a wheelchair user, I’m limited to what I can reach with my litter-picker. However, I thoroughly enjoy the experience, and it is great being part of a ‘movement’. As the video showed, it has to start somewhere. It’s amazing what we find sometimes. Believe it or not, the commonest litterers are the lazy dog owners (I know the majority are very responsible, but there are always a few who aren’t.) We constantly find doggy-poo bags left on the grass, next to (and not in) the doggy-poo bins, or, worse, hung from a bush!! What on Earth is the thinking behind that, I wonder? Thanks again for a great post. Ellie

    Like

    • peNdantry says:

      Thank you so much for your complimentary comment, Ellie. I was at first puzzled by your reference to ‘the fantastic video’, as there isn’t one in the post itself. Then I twigged that you must be referring to one in the comments somewhere… and (eventually!) found the one in this one (which has to be the video to which you refer, as it’s the only one on the page). Why are things always in the very last place we look? :)

      On the subject of ‘doggy-poo’, can I interest you in my dirty new hobby? ;)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry for the confusion about the video. I always read the comments on my blogging buddies’ posts – they can be fascinating in their own right. I’ve just read your ‘My Dirty New Hobby’ post and left you a comment there. It’s brilliant, in a nutshell. So glad you shared it with me. It’s been the highlight of my day and brightened my otherwise dull afternoon ;) . Looking forward to catching up on some of your older posts and the next one too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • peNdantry says:

          Oh, Ellie, please don’t apologise! Confusion can be fun :) I, too, try to read comments on others’ posts as they often add extra insight. Sadly, the blogosphere is so big, and there’s often so little time… speaking of which, if you have a moment, could I perhaps entice you to drop by the 💥 ?Random Raiders! 💥 site?

          Very glad to hear that I was able to brighten your day, and thanks for the compliment :)

          Liked by 1 person

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