Litter.

There's a lot of it about . . . just ask many of the residents in Flaxmere whose landscape near the marae has seen a great blot created upon it.

It's been happening for about three years, which in itself is quite unsettling as it almost suggests many people have just taken it as read: that rubbish will end up there because it is a convenient, and free-of-charge, dumping spot.

The words of one concerned local summed it up best — "absolutely dreadful".

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Read more: Illegal dumping a 'kick in the guts' for Flaxmere marae

When I heard about the illegal dump site and saw the photos, I immediately thought of the lad with the wrapper.

Which is a slightly strange journey of thought to embark on but it fixed the two points at the opposite ends of the litter scale, and how people respond to the need to ensure the landscapes are clean and clear.

It was during the school holidays a few years ago and I was walking through town and there were three young lads walking along in front of me.

A couple of them were eating away at something and at one point a wrapper fell to the pavement. The kid, who would have been maybe 9 or 10, stepped back and picked it up, and a few metres along the way put it in the roadside litter bin.

He had clearly been taught that you don't leave rubbish lying about, because if you do then someone else is going to have to pick it up.

And it's an ugly look on an otherwise tidy area.

But in this recent dump revelation other kids will have likely seen this vile spread of rubbish and probably figure if it's okay for people to dump their unwanted stuff there then so be it.

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It is clearly not the work of a single person or two.

It appears to have effectively become the local "transfer station" and that is both sad and unacceptable.

Because the fine folk of the neighbouring Te Aranga Marae, and anyone who walks the area, basically have to deal with it.

It is private land and not a council issue.

It is a wider community issue, although maybe the council could perhaps step in and introduce some specific days when dump charges will be waived to rule out the cost barrier some people are obviously rattled by?

Sadly we've all seen the dumped bags and abandoned junk on so many roadsides, but the scale of this is terrible.

As Henare O'Keefe said: "It just comes down to having pride in your community."

Getting that message across to some people, however, would be more challenging than trying to clean it all up.