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Opinion: If the refuse collection is rubbish, expect litter

Washed Up column by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Not for one second am I sticking up for the people who litter our beaches and woodlands. Fly tipping is an abhorrent act and the perpetrators need to pay the price for the damage their actions wreak on wildlife, the environment and the landowners who have to clear the rubbish up.

However, I would just say a word on behalf of the people who are trying to do the right thing, only to be stymied in their efforts by a lack of facilities.

The pictures of overflowing bins at beaches such as Brancaster and Hunstanton that have circulated on social media are horrible to see but the point is that people are trying to do the right thing.

Dog waste bins have began to overflow. Picture: Dartford Litter Pickers
Dog waste bins have began to overflow. Picture: Dartford Litter Pickers

It is the same with the overflowing dog poo bins. The dog owners were clearly trying to do the right thing and dispose of their dog waste sensibly, there just isn’t enough provision for it.

Responsibility for the lack of adequate bins has to be laid at the door of the Borough Council. It doesn’t take a genius to recognise that Norfolk is going to be a hot destination throughout the summer. We are a relatively safe county when it comes to Covid-19; we have lots of outdoor space where people can get away from crowds; we have beautiful beaches and countryside.

People are not able to holiday abroad. Of course the city dwellers from London, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham and elsewhere are going to flock down the A47 and the A10.

It is not just the litter bins that are showing just how the council lacks foresight and initiative. No longer collecting food waste bins means that more rubbish goes into household waste.

The result? Smelly, overflowing bins that are a health hazard and an eyesore. In the summer, the problem is worse because of the heat.

Unfortunately, cost cutting to local government is now trickling down and the consequences are being felt in the community. It is a vicious circle.

Not enough bins or bin collections, for either private residents or public facilities, means that rubbish piles up.

That removes the motivation to keep things tidy. If one person starts a new pile of rubbish next to a bin, it will be just a matter of time before that pile becomes a huge mess. And, of course, someone has to clear it up, so that becomes a very false economy.

It’s all very well flooding social media with pictures of overflowing bins and discarded rubbish but you have to provide a means for people to do the right thing.

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