Let’s aim to make litter crackdowns unnecessary

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We doubt that anyone in Gosport – or indeed anywhere else in the area – thinks that littering is a good idea.

On the whole, right-thinking people are annoyed by seeing drinks cans in the gutter, dog mess in the park and cigarette butts in wind-blown piles by shops, so most will read our story today about the zero-tolerance regime proposed for Gosport – not that it implies that that town is better or worse for litter than anywhere else – and think: ‘Good.’

And, obviously, on behalf of those who live in Gosport we hope the push sees results. Certainly the issuing of three fines in a week is a much higher rate than last 12 months, when only 37 were issued in total.

It’s also reassuring to hear that council leader Mark Hook has said that it is if people are spotted, and crucially that they refuse to clear up after themselves or their dog, that the fine will kick in. This will get rid of some of the type of complaints seen in Havant, under its contract with a private enforcement company, that people were penalised for accidentally dropping litter even if they intended to pick it up.

But the subject as a whole begs a fairly obvious question. Seeing as nobody, surely, would consider themselves in the pro-litter camp, why is it there at all? The simple answer is laziness, and also an attitude that leads some people to think that it’s acceptable to let someone else clean up after them.

To stop this, it is the duty of every parent to teach their children that littering is totally unacceptable, and indeed the duty of every adult to demonstrate that chucking a fast food wrapper in a hedge is not a permissible act, but more properly classed as anti-social behaviour.

We hear the word ‘pride’ a lot – pride in an area, in a country, pride in a football team, pride in the military; the list is long.

But a simple act of pride in the area you inhabit doesn’t need pageantry, cheering or support. It simple means keeping it as clean as possible. It’s not hard. While we welcome anti-litter drives, we long for the day when they are unnecessary.

To read the full story click here.