Shropshire Star

Shirley Tart: Litter? It’s just a load of rubbish

So this is the moment. The beginning of a special campaign from me in this year of Grace, 2019.


Hundreds of folk – men, women and children – have already started, some hardy and committed folk have been doing exactly the same for years, unsung, so often unnoticed, disappointed when their work is instantly undone by the careless or the simply couldn’t care less.

Collecting rubbish.

From the roadside, from the beach, from the park, from your garden in some cases where culprits think they can heave it over fences and hedges, on pathways and verges across the land wherever they are.

More than irritating and appalling, it is terribly sad and personally wounding and sometimes defeating that before you have collected another filthy, plastic bottle, paper cup, cigarette packet, another one has appeared to blight the landscape.

Looking at some of the relevant mountains of rubbish and recycling just dumped and rotting, we know that one person can’t make that much difference in one go, which is why it’s so easy to despair, to give in, to think that all efforts are useless anyway so why bother.

But, as has been said time and again, whoever dumped it in the first place, we have to not just respect our planet but for pity’s sake, save it.

Very simply, we need to pick it up.

Otherwise we and it are surely doomed. Not to mention any effects on the rest of the universe?

The sight of marvellous birds and animals in the wild, and in great peril from discarded plastic which is so cruelly throttling them, is heartbreaking.

I remember seeing a big and handsome fish in a park pond desperately trying to struggle its way out of a seemingly innocent crisp packet over its head.

If I could have caught it and removed the packet I would have done so in a prayer.


Yet while suffering animal life at all levels stands as testament to planet wreckers, the truth of this story is so much greater, so much more significant than that.

Those awful pictures from across the world simply showing discarded rubbish in nation after nation because people can’t be bother to bin it or take it home are a shameful reflection on human beings.

We are, or should be, bigger than that.

And bigger than ignoring the many millions of tons simply thrown away by anyone.

Credit to those people of all ages across the country who are already well committed to the wellie and rubbish bags brigade and cheerfully form groups to do their best for our environment.

On our rural hill, we have one brave heart, an elderly man, who is regularly seen with his faithful ‘picker-upper’ who collects other people’s rubbish. He is always smiling and remains faithful to the cause he believes in.

Now here is the crunch. Every reasonable and (allegedly) caring person will, I’m certain, agree with much of this portrait of a dilemma of our time. But what is each of us going to do about it?

Young Royals are spreading the message and so is Patsy in the little local shop. A couple of hours on a Saturday morning by enough of us for instance will make a difference.

What do you think? Would you join in a current campaign if not already signed up?

And for me, to try and compensate for only writing and talking about it, where do you think I should start? Tell me.