Litter slobs must learn to clean up

By Roger Moroney

It may sound frivolous, and I declare it with tongue in cheek, but I daresay the only people who like litter are those employed to remove it from public and recreational places - because otherwise they may be out of a job.

Litter is right up there with graffiti as one of the most unpleasant by-products of boredom, laziness, insensitivity, idiocy and selfishness.

I have seen, and as a result seethed, as foam or cardboard packaging has been ejected from a moving car.

I have arrived at work, on too many occasions to number, to discover that the parking areas have been used as overnight rubbish tips for everything from bottles, cans, food wrappings and even soiled disposable nappies. Charming.

This is where I take my hat off to those charged with the often unpleasant task of keeping our Hawke's Bay landscape clean, as well as those volunteers who regularly head out to the waterways, estuaries and beachfronts to embark on litter-gathering treks.

After one of the first cruise ships of the summer season arrived in port, I spoke with several Australian passengers and two themes emerged.

They loved the seafront and the "clean" sea and were astonished at just how clean the streets and footpaths were.

One Queensland couple reckoned Napier was the cleanest city they had ever seen.

It was a good thing they saw it at 9.15 in the morning after the stoic cleaners had done the rounds - because the CBD streets aren't too pretty at dawn on a Saturday or Sunday.

It's also a good thing they didn't embark on expeditions to some of our rivers and associated recreational domains. The photos of the rubbish dumped along the walkways and access areas of the Ngaruroro River we published yesterday made me very angry. There is no reason for it.

Anyone who argues it's too expensive to take it to the council-operated transfer stations is dreaming. It's the way it is; so do what many do - get three or four of you together and do one dump run and split the cost.

And there are private bin collection firms and recyclers, and weekly refuse collections.

If the slobs who dump their refuse at the distant and isolated rivers can afford the petrol to get out there and back then they can afford to take it to the transfer station.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council is advising anyone seeing dumping taking place to take the rego numbers of the vehicles involved and report it, and I couldn't agree more.

We have to clean up our act.

But I will conclude on an uplifting note.

Last Monday, while panic shopping for Christmas, I saw a young lad, would have been just five or six, walking with his mum and a young lady I assume was his sister. He unwrapped something and the wrapping fell to the ground. Neither mum nor sis were aware of it, but he instantly stopped, went back, picked it up and further up the street dropped it in a bin. He hadn't been told to, but he just knew that's what good people do.

Made my day.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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