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Councillor Ken Smith is absolutely right to express his frustration at the way some anti-social people treat public parks.

In today’s story on page 10 he refers to how litter has been left strewn across Havant Park, while flowers have been pulled up and bricks knocked out of walls.

But his words could equally apply to how a minority treat open spaces anywhere with absolutely no respect.

In today’s hectic and increasingly built-up world, parks are precious green lungs and somewhere to go and relax and enjoy ourselves. We can sit and think, walk the dog or play games with the children.

We’re fortunate in this area to have some excellent parks that offer an attractive haven and are carefully maintained by local authorities who understand their value. But they are in danger of being ruined by people who just don’t seem to care.

Those who congregate at night and then leave takeaway wrappers and drink cans behind instead of taking them home or finding a bin are bad enough.

As are inconsiderate parents who seem to think it’s acceptable to throw soiled nappies on the grass and leave them there.

It’s got so bad that Havant Borough Council has had to send three cleaners, who can take up to two hours each day cleaning up the mess.

But it’s what Cllr Smith rightly calls ‘mindless vandalism’ that is perhaps the hardest to stomach.

Flowers were planted in Havant Park by a group of community-minded volunteers. They kindly gave their time so the park could be made more attractive.

Imagine how they must feel now to discover their hard work has been ruined.

Those who litter parks or cause damage need to take a long, hard look at themselves. They also need to start taking some personal responsibility for their actions and show some consideration for other park users and council workers who have to clear up their mess.

Educational campaigns are all well and good. But if people continue to ignore the message, then fixed penalty notices may be the only way to get through.