In the midst of all the very serious issues affecting us at the moment is a long-running topic that is capable of causing emotions ranging from irritation to anger. I am talking about litter.
I have noticed a rising number of emails from people bemoaning the state of Kent’s roadsides, whether motorways, A roads or country lanes. One of the effects of lockdown (oddly, as you would have thought that fewer people were out and about) has been a proliferation of plastic bags, food cartons and other general detritus chucked out of vehicle windows without a thought for the environment or other people.
This is appalling and I share the general sentiments of those who write to me about it. The emails generally ask for action on the part of the councils, or government, or fast food companies. All of these bodies may well have a part to play in eliminating this scourge.
However it is also worth saying that at root the litter problem is not caused by local or national government, it is caused by selfish individuals. Literally every piece of litter you see on the street or the side of the highway could have been taken home or dropped in a bin.
For the past few years I have been a supporter of the Litter Angels campaign. This is a competition for primary schools to design the most effective poster discouraging people from dropping litter.
We will be running the competition again later this year, and I hope many schools in and around Ashford take part. Making dropping litter completely unacceptable is a message that parents and teachers can pass on to children very easily, and I hope the competition helps.
In my experience, fighting litter is a cause children take up with enthusiasm, and in some cases change their parents’ behaviour for the better. It’s a very worthwhile fight.