Letter to the Editor: Protect our wildlife from litter

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers. This one from Linda Barnes tackles the issue of litter.

No I’m not talking about hair, but this is ‘worth it’, thinking about, I mean.

Yesterday I took a leaf out of womble Wendy’s book and took my litter picker and bin bags off round my local paths in Lake/Sandown, I had to pick my morning carefully, the day the men come to collect the bins, not wanting to have to take all the rubbish back home with me.

This route to Los Altos park, and Sandown town avoids most traffic and is a pleasant, well used route, but for the litter.

Beauty devastated by weed killer
During walks along this stretch you can observe seasonal changes, especially at ground level:- the wild flowers, violets and shiny yellow celandines in spring, grannies bonnets (wild aquilegia), the whispering, delicate heads of quaking grass in summer, and always the cheery gorse with its candles of yellow, and delicious scent, attracting a busy buzz of bees.

Sad then to find this area devastated by indiscriminate use of weed killer, in particular this year.

Normally such a robust shrub as the gorse would recover from this, but following the spraying in Spring, still looks burned, which leads me to believe it was a particularly pernicious type of weed killer, perhaps one that the public shouldn’t have been exposed to.

Contacting the local rail service, and its community representative Bobby Lock, has led nowhere, feedback of some sort would have been good, perhaps they don’t care about the wildlife.

Buzzing about biodiversity
Yet it was only a while ago that ‘biodiversity’ was the ‘buzz’ word. Without brambles, gorse and other nectar rich, wild larders, insects, birds, and other small creatures struggle.

The mining bees whose hum greets you as you pass along the banks of trees through Los Altos will have to search other areas for pollen, taking them further afield, expending more energy.

Litter unabated
The litter has continued unabated, which is mainly beer cans, and plastic bottles – losing count after the first 100 or so bagged up yesterday.

This type of litter would rarely have been seen in the 50s and 60s, it would have been glass bottles instead, which when I was a child I took to our local shop to get a few pennies back on.

Will the drinks and packaging industry take some responsibility and put some of their profits into addressing this growing problem?

Lack of litter bins
Beach cleans have shown up the lack of litter bins, and to some it doesn’t matter if there is one in front of their nose, they would rather throw it on the ground, but having litter bins around would still be an improvement to the problem.

Dog waste bins on the other hand I’m pleased to say are plentiful. On the particular stretch I was clearing there are at least four, excellent! – yet why no litter bins?

Has a type of conditioning set in, a mindset where we walk past certain things like litter and accept it – that’s just how it is.

An alien concept
Young children passed me on their way to school, they asked their mum’s and dad’s what I was doing, and why was I picking up rubbish.

They didn’t know. So this is why, because for me it’s about cherishing where I live, cherishing the environment we all share with the wild things, and seeing the area a little cleaner makes me feel better.

Action needed
So come on Councillors help us all keep our environment clean and tidy, let’s have some litter bins please, and Bobby Lock (community rail partnership) please look at giving nature a helping hand, not a knock back.

Contact me at sunstream@hotmail.co.uk

Friday, 7th September, 2012 11:00am


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Filed under: Lake, Letter to the Editor, Sandown

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3 Comments on "Letter to the Editor: Protect our wildlife from litter"

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Mark L Francis
You are so right! What drives me apopleptic is glass – glass becomes broken glass which goes under my dog’s feet and my bike tyres. Sometimes they cannot even been bothered to drink the contents! I always said an obsession with dog poo is a sign of advancing senility (that and blaming all vandalism on “teenagers from the Mainland” but maybe that was just my mum)but what… Read more »
I agree Mark, broken glass is certainly a danger, finding three broken bottles along the way when I did the litter pick, I wasn’t prepared to put it in the bin bags as it would have cut through the plastic and may have caused injury to anyone moving them – next time I’ll take more robust equipment to deal with it. There used to be someone employed… Read more »
I’d like to see a few changes which would help: 1. The cost of all packaging is included explicitly in the price of the product, and that cost can be reclaimed by returning the packaging to the shop, the manufacturer, or some other collection point. In the 60s I was one of the children who picked up anything with deposits which we could find. It worked! 2.… Read more »