Take-away recyled.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)

We went for a walk around Langdon Hills meadows on Sunday morning (9th June 2014) but on arriving at the car park in Lee Chapel Lane were horrified to see the amount of litter strewn around.  It looked absolutely disgusting, a real disgrace, as just a short walk from the car park lies some of the most beautiful countryside in our county. 

We decided to return in the afternoon armed with several large plastic bags.  The litter consisted mainly of various fast food containers (mostly MacDonalds), cigarette packets, crisp packets, empty cans of high energy drinks, empty bottles of Budweizer etc. We collected the litter into a big heap and then filled three large bags.   This evidence shows that the culprits not only have little regard for the state of the environment but that of their own health.

One item amongst the assortment of rubbish caused us to chuckle – a stainless steel fork with fancy engraving, indicating that at least one person had preferred not to use their fingers to eat their take-away meal.  If there was just 1p return on each of the tins and cans, we would have earned at least £1.  However, they have now been deposited in the recycling bins.

We left the car park, hot and sweaty but, oh what a transformation as we glanced back at the clean and tidy car park.  We enjoyed doing our good deed for the day though very sad that it had been necessary.  Hoping it won’t need doing again anytime soon but won’t be holding our breath.        

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Take-away recyled.' page

Colin Humphrey

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Take-away recyled.' page

Colin Humphrey

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Take-away recyled.' page

Colin Humphrey

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Take-away recyled.' page

Colin Humphrey

This page was added by Nina Humphrey(née Burton) on 10/06/2014.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

While I consider Messrs  Diment and Davies' comments both currently topical and informative they are also irrelevant and argumentative. Completely avoiding the history of Laindon and surrounding areas, they have missed the point that you were making. It's pitiful that you should find the need to clean up behind litter louts whoever they may be or whatever age they are. But all power to you for giving a damn for our treasured patch! What you really deserve is thanks.

By Donald Joy
On 13/09/2015

Hi Nina, on our way to Sunday's walk, we took the Dry Street route - oh my word, someone had tipped a great pile of rubbish by the side of the road; it was mostly builders' rubbish. It looked disgusting and it makes you wonder about the mentality of these tippers. 
Dry Street is such a sweet place and it was sad to see it being disrespected.  

Regarding your comment about empties, perhaps a money back scheme would ease the problem a bit. 

By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell)
On 17/07/2014

Bill and Nina each raise very pertinent and challenging questions. Their comments seem to centre around two separate topics. Diet and the environment. Perhaps I could add a few comments.

Multiple studies show that obesity and accompanying diabetes and other health related issues are global problems. If "moderation in all things" as Nina phrases it or as the Greeks termed it "the golden mean" were widely practiced this exchange would not be taking place. A Big Mac and chips once a week or a couple of pints at the local twice a week would do no harm. It is when fast food is eaten most days of the week combined with binge drinking on the week end and no exercise that huge problems arise.

Unfortunately this is the lifestyle that too many have chosen. Health care costs for this segment of the population are huge and will exponentially increase in the future. These increased costs will have to be met by the taxpayer. Corollary increased costs including a drop in productivity owing to increased absenteeism will simply add to the burden.

Studies have shown that during world war two the population at large ate a more healthy diet which, combined with more walking and exercise, produced a virtual absence of obesity and diabetes. So rationing was not so bad for us.

In his final paragraph Bill asks which is more damaging to the environment, car emissions or litter. Passions run high on this general topic and I certainly have no answers but perhaps I may be allowed to raise a few points.

1. I live in the USA where, in California particularly, huge windmill farms operate all heavily subsidised by the government. Meantime, by making regulations much more stringent and expensive, the government have devastated the coal producing areas of West Virginia and Kentucky resulting in massive unemployment in those areas. Clearly there are favourites.

2. I live in San Diego where sunshine is so abundant that new houses are generally built with solar heat panels. This enjoys a heavy government subsidy. Electricity generated in excess of the household's requirements (about nine months of the year) is sold to the utility company. Not a bad deal. Who do you think pays for the subsidies and sweetheart deals? The taxpayer of course.

3. North Georgia is the largest producer of chickens in the world. Their rivers and streams are being poisoned by the run off from the hundreds of tons annually of chicken droppings. A very real problem. What's to be done? Stop eating chicken?

4. Recently I read a study where it was claimed that the amount of methane gas eliminated by cattle, pigs, sheep etc throughout the world amounted to a very real addition to climate change. (The study was silent regarding humans.) I could not help wondering, given that dinosaurs ruled the planet for 130 million years before their extinction 65 million years ago, how much methane gas these monsters contributed to the environment in 135 million years. That thought put things into perspective.

I could go on but enough is enough. To me the question of a changing evironment and climate change are undeniable. Of course we have to become more responsible and caring of our planet. That has to achieved through improved technology not by returning to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. From its beginning as a fiery mass, the break up of Pangea, through several ice ages, an encounter with a meteor 65 million years ago which killed off eighty five per cent of all living species, the environment and climate has always been changing. Sometimes slowly sometimes more rapidly. It is changing now. Are man's activities since the industrial revolution combined with an explosion of population speeding up and adding to a natural change? Surely that is the question.

Meantime, I have to take out the garbage remembering that recycled items go in the blue can and other waste in the black can. After that, time to walk the dog remembering to take along a couple of plastic bags should she need to poop. Looking after the environment comes in a variety of ways and we all need to make our individual effort. Three cheers for Nina and Colin for going the extra mile and picking up other people's trash.

By alan davies
On 11/06/2014

William has raised some interesting points.    Of course I agree with him that without solid conclusive evidence, some things are open to debate, but I certainly wouldn’t in anyway attempt to assume the age group of those who left the litter.  My grumble is simply about the fact that they did leave it there, whatever their age.           

I definitely agree with the very wise philosophy; ‘moderation in all things’, a view which I am sure is shared by most.   Unfortunately this isn’t always the case hence the increasing obesity problem that’s costing our hospitals thousands of pounds annually.  Some hospitals now even have a dedicated ‘Bariatrics’ ward.  Also the increasing number of those who ‘binge drink’ causes heavy demands on the A&E departments. 

I would like to point out that although we did take the car to collect the rubbish bags in the afternoon, I didn’t mention anything about travelling to the area by car for our morning walk.  The car park is at the entrance of the country park, so we couldn’t help but notice the state of it when we arrived.

I agree with William, there are many social, environmental and health issues that have more questions than answers.  I know I can’t change the world or other people’s views or lifestyles, so I just prefer to continue doing my little bit for the environment as and when I can.  I care for both our planet and the people on it and have no intention of ‘throwing  stones’.  I wish everybody well.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 10/06/2014

Nina and her husband must be praised for their efforts to keep our countryside free from litter, but the remark that the culprits seem to have no regard for their own health could be debateable.   Apart from the cigarettes, is there any real evidence that take-away foods, beer and high energy drinks constitute a health risk when used in moderation and as part of a requisite daily food intake.

It could be that the litter is caused mostly by younger people many of whom eat as and when and not at the normally accepted meal times.  Their offence against society is leaving the mess for others to clean up.

To return to the question of diet and health, many of the older people's nights outs are inclusive of recreational eating and do they eat less in the day to balance the intake for the amount required for health as opposed to pleasure.

I also notice that Nina mentions the environmental aspect yet travelled to the area by car.  Which is more damaging to the environment, the exhaust emissions for what was initially a recreational pursuit or the litter?   In attempting to apportion blame for the ongoing destruction of this planet who can honestly claim the right to cast the first stone?

By W.H.Diment
On 10/06/2014
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