A couple of weeks back I had a chat with a few visitors from one of those great floating hotels which called by for half a day.
On that visiting schedule point, I have to digress briefly to note that those I spoke to (from Oz) all kind of wished they actually had a little more time ashore but hey, schedules are schedules.
Tides are tides.
Port charges are port charges.
So they glanced at their watches and meandered on, but not until they had absolutely cooed about how pretty the landscape was, and how pretty and relaxing the seafront gardens were...and yep, they were certainly looking forward to knocking on a few cellar doors later in the day.
And yep, how tidy everything was.
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Hardly any litter anywhere, and even the fountain ponds they had come across were free of flotsam and jetsam...not even any leaves floating about in there.
"Tidy town," one chirpy bloke remarked.
Which to a great degree is because the council, like all councils I daresay, have dedicated clean-up crews who fire up the great mechanical vacuums, load the brooms and dustpans aboard it, and head out often so early in the day to get the place back to smartness.
Because some human beings tend to drop things.
And I daresay there are those who simply think it's someone else's job to pick the wrapper up.
So there I was, heading into town from suburbia the other day, and I thought about those Aussie visitors and their gleaming opinions of the central city landscape.
And I wondered what they'd think if they had been in the car with me that morning as a did a sort of tally-up.
Which, after about 4.5km, resulted in around about eight plastic bags, four or five takeaway cups (one I think had a straw attached), three empty cans, three bottles and so many discarded old fast food wrappers that I lost count after about 12.
There was also a flattened old cardboard egg container, what appeared to be a deflated and punctured ball, one weary looking old shoe and, of all things, a broken umbrella lying neatly in the gutter.
The city cleaners can't be everywhere, but we, the public, can.
There's a lot of it about and I guess there always has been, because not everyone goes through the early stages of their lives learning that it is important to put rubbish in that thing called the bin.
And if you're at the beach you "take your rubbish home with you".
Leave the place looking the way it should...litter free.
There is a place for litter, and that place is in a bin.
Oh yeah, that's the other thing I noted as I walked from the park to work.
I passed one of those council-provided bins and there was plenty of room inside...yet beside it lay a crushed takeaway food carton and a half-eaten apple.
So I picked them up and moved them less than half a metre...and into the bin.
I suspect someone had stopped their car beside it and tried to throw them in, and when they clearly missed just thought "ah to hell with it" and drove off.
There has always been litter about and I guess there always will be, and I firmly believe (knowing about that thing called human nature...and its frailties) that no matter how many bins are placed out there across the landscape, paper and plastic debris will always emerge...near them.
When I was a kid I just got used to the family philosophy of disposing of stuff the right way.
We lived on the beachfront and often took the fish and chips (wrapped in newspaper in those times) across to the lay on the great shingle dining table.
When all was consumed, and the leftovers gladly accepted by the seagulls, we'd scrunch the paper and anything else up and take it back home.
Sadly, there have been occasions when while visiting the beach the sight of partially buried fast food paper has not been unusual.
Then I read the sad tale of the albatross which died after consuming a plastic bottle which it mistook, glinting and floating in the ocean, for some sort of sea life.
Because sea life lives in the sea...plastic doesn't.
That's how the albatross sees it, but sadly not how a landscape damaging slice of humanity sees it.
Out off sight, out of mind.
And into an iconic sea bird's stomach.
There's a place for it.
It's called a rubbish or recycling bin.
Can't be that hard to work out...can it?
Roger Moroney is an award-winning journalist for Hawke's Bay Today and observer of the slightly off-centre.