Selfish or Stupid?

I spent part of my morning picking fragments of glass out of a field. Not something I do as a hobby, or for the fun of it, I can assure you. But it seems that nobody else was prepared to do it.

To explain: I live in a small market town (ex- market town now dormitory town?), the field in question is actually a public open space just on the edge of the town bordered by houses on two sides. It’s just a green place with a few trees and grass to walk the dog, fly a kite, or just relax in the sun. It also is an ideal place to stop with a few mates and have a drink or two – which people do, every so often, with varying degrees of civic responsibility. All fine and dandy. But what possessed the group last night to leave all their beer bottles lying in a heap a few yards from the council-provided bin? If the boxes are any guide (also dumped), there were 72 of them.


Dangerous, stupid, selfish

So assuming that there were probably around 10 people, did none of them dare to brave the hostility of their friends to suggest that maybe, just maybe, disposing of their litter would be nice? Apparently not. If it had been me, it would have gone home to be recycled.

The sad thing is (if that isn’t already the sad thing) that there must have already been 20 or 30 people who had walked past the spot before I did that morning. It’s a popular dog walking spot. Some live closer than I do. Did nobody else think to pick up some of the bottles? Again, apparently not.

Maybe somebody rang the council, but hang on – I thought people hated the “nanny state” approach? Isn’t it better to take a bit of individual responsibility? What a waste of time and resources on all sides.

With that in mind, I fetched my recycling box from home and filled it. Fortunately only one bottle, that I could find, was smashed. I hope I didn’t miss glass which could in future find its way into a dog’s paw, or into a child’s foot, leg or arm. Or worse. To wish for it to insert itself deeply into a selfish boozer’s arse is a bit to much of a stretch I think.

Collected bottles

Now I look like a drunk

Whilst collecting up this mess, an ageing fellow with a dog walked past. After he’d gathered that I was not responsible for the mess, and wasn’t from the council, there was clear incredulity in his face that I should take the trouble to do anything about the glass bottles (and caps) and shards that were defacing and making hazardous this otherwise happy spot.

Sadly, I suspect he’s not unusual in that view. Perhaps that’s the most sad thing of all.

As well as carping, I have a message here. It is this: Everyone is responsible. Everyone needs to do their bit. Even if it’s cleaning up after some other idiot. This doesn’t just apply to litter! As we escape from our little communities onto the global village of the internet, the same message holds true.


About mikbarne
I'm a writer and freelance communications and collaboration consultant with nearly 20 years experience in UK telecommunications, specialising in VoIP, Unified Communications and Collaboration, and building effective communications architectures. Visit my Google+ Profile

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