I will never understand people who litter.
Maybe it's because the Be a Tidy Kiwi movement had already been around for two decades when I was born in the 1980s.
Then the Keep New Zealand Beautiful anti-littering campaign arrived in the 1990s, when I was in school. My malleable Millennial mind was moulded into the litter police.
But even without the benefit of that green indoctrination, I don't see how anyone - of any generation - could think it's okay to just drop their trash where they walk or hiff it out the window of their car.
So when I read that flytipping - people illegally dumping literally trailer-loads full of rubbish wherever they please - is rampant in the Bay of Plenty, my blood boils.
These people are scum. They are dumping their trash into our rivers and lagoons, our reserves and roadsides, gullies and gorges - and we're paying for the clean-up.
It's costing ratepayers across the region hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
We're not talking a grocery bag of trash here and there. We're talking furniture, whiteware and 60L plastic sacks of straight-up rubbish.
A person who could do this must be completely devoid of a social conscious. Not to mention basic life skills.
My microwave broke recently. I tried and failed to get it fixed then dropped it off at the recycling centre. For free. It took one minute of googling and a 10-minute stop on my way to work to take it in. Didn't even have to cover up my number plate or wait until the cover of darkness.
But what do we do about fly-tippers? A council can pick some unfortunate staff member to sift through the stinking heap in search of a letter or other castaway with some identifying details.
If they track down the culprit, there's a court process that ends in a maximum penalty of $5000 for an individual or $20,000 for a group under the Litter Act 1979.
I am willing to bet the people unable or unwilling to pony up for a dump fee are often not likely to be in a position to pay such a fine, never mind court costs.
Under the act, litter that could endanger someone - injury, disease, infection - has more serious penalties including up to a month in prison.
It's time to get tough and pump up the penalties on all types of fly-tipping to match.
I'd like to see community service as a sentencing option.
Dump rubbish where you shouldn't? Ok, you can spend a chunk of your leisure hours picking up other people's trash. Justice.