Helston not helping the planet

I DOUBT I am alone with my increasing frustration at the litter problem around Helston.

The fields close to the Premier Inn hotel and the footpaths connecting the football club, Tesco and Hellis Wartha estate are strewn with plastic bottles, wrappers and dog excrement. Some dog owners appear to think it acceptable to throw bags of dog mess into the hedges and walk away. That’s if they bother with using a bag at all.

What happened to the days when the words “LITTER BUG” were shouted at you if you were caught dropping an empty wrapper in the street?

I grew up in a time when it was considered bad behavior to discard your rubbish wherever you liked, and the 1980s wasn’t the most environmentally friendly era.

Nowadays, we are supposed to be mindful of the importance of recycling and looking after the planet. However it’s estimated more than £1bn is spent on litter collection in England each year alone. The cost is recouped via our council tax payments – something to think about the next time we moan at cuts to services.

Last year, I read an article in the Guardian stating that people who shop at Tesco were more likely to drop litter than more ‘affluent’ shoppers who go to Waitrose.

One anti-litter campaigner said: “I don’t see opera tickets in the street. There’s a Waitrose supermarket near where I live yet I found just one Waitrose bag last year. There’s also a Metro Tesco store and I find Tesco bags all the time. It’s fast foods and candy bars and crisps.”

I’m not sure about those findings, yet have certainly noticed less litter in some parts of our town compared to others. To combat the issue, penalties look set to increase. Fines for littering are currently set by local councils and range from £50 to £80, however a government department is recommending fines be increased to £150.

Dropping litter is a type of antisocial behavior – a thoughtless and selfish act that ruins shared spaces for everyone.

Do you feel the same? Or do you drop litter and think it’s acceptable? If so, why? And what would make you stop?

Toby Hines

Toby Hines founded the Helston Advertiser in 2000 and is a passionate supporter of local businesses. He is a big believer in health and wellness and likes to begin most days with a walk around Helston with his Golden Retriever or an hour in the gym. A father of three, he is happiest when spending quality time with the family.

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