THE BLOG

A Totally Rubbish Blog From Yours Truly

30/08/2017 13:57

Have you noticed how no one really talks rubbish any longer? That's not to say we're all suddenly speaking common sense. Far from it. We've never spoken more garbage across an ever expanding range of topics. It doesn't matter who we are and what we do, we can't keep our dumb, deluded and frequently dangerous opinions to ourselves. Can we, Donald?

What comes out of the mouths and minds of politicians, celebrities and other equally uninformed individuals has seldom been a bigger load of dross.

Technology, of course, hasn't helped. Our unwanted views litter the Twittersphere and other social media platforms like plastic carrier bags litter river banks. Alas, almost none of these views refer to actual trash. Namely, the hundreds of tonnes of debris we generate on an annual basis, which is increasingly being burnt in incinerators rather than being dumped into traditional landfills. Although so called experts can't quite decide which option is most damaging.

As if this isn't bad enough, thanks to fly-tipping, the junk that piles up on our streets is blighting landscapes and neighbourhoods as never before, resulting in already ugly parts of the country becoming even uglier.

Consider for a moment the amount of crap you feel compelled to discard. Stuff that you probably didn't even want in the first place.

Sadly, we've become the ultimate throwaway nation. At the time of the banking crisis of 2007/ 2008, there appeared to be an effort to return to the 'make do and mend' days of WW2 and its aftermath when our forebears were loathed to dispose of anything in case it could come in handy for something else. "Mother, what are you throwing the skin from that custard away for?",
"Leave it to dry and it can be used to run up a perfectly good pair of stockings".

At least in the all too disposable 21st century, we can console ourselves with the fact that we're becoming more environmentally friendly. Or so we might think. However, the propensity to wash tin cans, rinse out bottles and crush down cardboard has stalled and it now appears as though the UK won't reach the 2020 EU 50% recycling target after all.

Worse still, food waste is on the increase. We chuck away £13 billion a year, much of it perfectly edible. With the use of food banks never higher, this is indeed a tad perverse.

News from a few months ago that we discard 1.4 million bananas a day, is again a staggering statistic. It's crazy to consider that back in 1945 a lot of children hadn't even seen the fruit.

What does this say about society? More crucially, what does it say about the towns and cities we call home?

In the London borough of Tower Hamlets where I live, it's easy to get wound up by litter. It's literally everywhere, except that is in the roadside and park bins the council provide. Weirdly these are usually empty.

It doesn't matter if a bin is close at hand or people are passing one. No, they prefer to toss their fast food boxes, drink cans and leftover chicken bones directly onto the ground. When they're in their parked cars, the physical exertion of climbing from the vehicle to dispose of their waste is evidently also too much effort. Instead, they open the windows or doors and out it flies, As a passerby, you want to say something, but invariably you don't for fear of getting into some confrontation that could result in verbal abuse or a physical altercation. Much simpler to pick it up for them, roll your eyes and waltz off.

I'd like to report that the Borough's green spaces are a different matter. Only they're not. I work close to a little park. It could be lovely - a lunchtime oasis - but the flats which overlook it choose to use it as a dumping ground to bung toilet seats, mouldy loaves of bread and soiled children's nappies from their balconies.

Is this a cultural thing, a class thing, an age thing? Pointing the finger is, well, pointless. Perhaps it's the price one has to pay for living in a shithole area. A shithole area where nearby tiny one bedroom new build apartments sell for £1 million plus.

It can only be hoped that post Brexit, London genuinely does become the Singapore of the Western World. Nowhere on Earth is hotter on tidiness, so from a cleanliness perspective I'd be in some kind of seventh heaven. $300 fines for dropping cigarette butts and sweet wrappers. Getting hauled up before the courts for anything bigger such as a bottle. And facing the firing squad for dropped food, including half eaten kebabs. Admittedly, the last one could be wishful thinking on my part.

Right, that's it for the muck moans. Tune in next week for another rubbish blog from yours truly. Mind you, no promises it'll be about refuse.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS