Diary of a Litter-Picker: Roadside survey for ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme

Surely this is ‘medical waste’ and should be disposed as such?

I was asked to take photos of pieces of litter for ITV’s ‘Tonight’ progamme who were conducting a survey. This took me twenty-five minutes and left me fuming.

A second recently discarded ‘disposable’ face mask greeting visitors

Forgive my rant, but cars never stop while driving out of town around this bend. These items were thrown from moving vehicles, into a Nature Reserve within the New Forest National Park, in the space of a few weeks while Lockdown measures were in place.

Those intelligent enough to pass the Highway Code, obviously think plastic bottles and tin drinks cans are bio-degradable, that there is no need to take responsibility for items that have been in their mouths during a pandemic.

This is not the first time I have found Lynx Africa in the New Forest. I am assured it is sniffed as a recreational drug. This canister was undoubtedly chucked out of a vehicle. Are drivers sniffing it as well as consuming alcohol?

You get three points deducted from your driving licence if something accidentally falls off your roof rack. How many points do lorry drivers get for losing a load – nine? Surely, litterers and fly-tippers should have points deducted inline with this policy? Fly tipping and throwing litter from movie vehicles is hazardous. Being abandoned, the repercussions are endless.

What hope is there for the planet when people can’t be bothered to recycle their own drinks cans?

This McDonalds carton probably came from the Southampton takeaway 19.9 miles away. There is a nearer outlet 12 miles away but it would still have been carried for twenty minutes in a vehicle.

Everyone knows that plastic rings can choke wildlife. There is a sign on this bridge saying ‘Otters Crossing’ but I see cars speeding across at 50mph.

So much of the litter I find could be fatal to wildlife. We all know plastic rings can be lethal:

This rope was found the other side of river, looking north. You can see the wildfowl near the reedbeds.

Litter-picker kindly supplied by Litter Pickers of the New Forest

It goes on and on. This is litter collected in an area frequently cleaned by volunteers. I ended up dragging this traffic cone out of the estuary and adding another face mask to my haul.

Items removed from the Lymington river Estuary – May 2021

To see photos of items retrieved from this estuary two years ago, please click here

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

14 thoughts on “Diary of a Litter-Picker: Roadside survey for ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme”

  1. Like you, Sophie, people who drop litter outside of the provided bins makes me seethe. I once told someone off who I saw doing that (a woman) and I thought she was going to attack me. This was in front of witnesses too, who conveniently looked the other way! I managed to make my escape, but I was younger and fitter then! Grrrrr! You are doing a great job!

  2. I think your ‘rant’ is entirely forgivable; in fact I think it is justified. People should be made responsible for their own litter though I admit to being at a loss as to how that would be effected. I can’t understand the perpetrators attitude in the first place. I was always taught to put litter in a bin, or take it home. Thank you for another enlightening post, Sophie.

      1. We find lots of masks, both in our little town and in the countryside. A health hazard apart from anything else. I hook them with my walking stick if I have nothing else. Regards.

          1. In fact I see very little publicity against litter. I seem to remember public information TV films when I was young.

            1. It would be so easy for the Dept of Transport to add NO LITTERING messages to electronic motorway signs. They advise drivers to take breaks and not drink and drive. Do write in!

              1. Indeed, and I think the fast food industry should bear some responsibility too. We are miles from any outlet yet still find their rubbish in country lanes round here.

  3. It seems people really are selfish. The same people who go on environmental marches who claim to be doing what they do for the environment probably think nothing of throwing empty drink cartons and fast food cartons in the street. Then there are face masks, you have people wearing them outside in the fresh air then when they have finished with them think nothing of throwing them in the street or wherever they tend to be. Once again not in their area so it doesn’t matter, the same people who think to protect themselves don’t give a damn about others picking up germs from disgareded masks. During lockdown I took off my mask and put it in the nearest bin on exiting the supermarket. I have never thrown a mask I no longer need anywhere except into a bin.

    One thing which this country could adapt which could tone down the uncaring behaviour of some people such as total disregard for the environment is a form of national service. It would be interesting to see if this sort of behaviour occurs in countries which still have national service. I believe France still have it for their younger people, maybe this country need to reintroduce this here s it would teach the young people respect and discipline. With something like this in place then maybe there would be less hypocritical marches while their members throw away can and bottles in the street as their energies would be focussed on better things.

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