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Please Remember To Take All Your Belongings With You

Published 3 April 2011

Says the lovely voice when we leave a train. I suppose it means we should not leave rubbish on the train the same way as we would not leave our purse or – forgive me the comparison – our children there. Even though we hear the title of this article a thousand times a year, we tend to just file it into the back of our unconscious mind.

Although I can’t do anything against it, it physically hurts me when I see people leaving their tissues, food wrappers, any `I don’t need it anymore why would I trouble myself to carry it to the next bin` item behind on trains, buses, bus stops or even in parks. I feel particularly offended when I see children throwing a piece of something out of a bus window while the responsible parents sitting next to them just ignore it.

It is also sad, and an illusion destroyer, when I see one of the gorgeous ladies of London (dressed according to the latest fashion) walk out of a posh office, tear up a cigarette box, and elegantly drops the plastic wrap as if the pavement were some kind of magical bin that swallows everything without trace and recycles our mess automatically. The same happens with cigarette stubs every second of the day. I can rarely see smokers who use the allotted stub bins when they have finished smoking. Also, men throwing chocolate wraps out of their sport cars’ window are not an attractive sight.

The responsible authority might clean up after us and get rid of the rubbish we leave on the streets day by day. But those who do litter in the city will probably do the same when going for a trip outside of it, or just for a walk in a park. And while litter on the streets of London will be cleaned up within a day, litter in the countryside will remain there for years, decades, or even centuries.

Last weekend, on one of the first sunny days in London, I spent a glorious afternoon in Hyde Park doing absolutely nothing but enjoying the sun and watching others doing the same. Isn’t it fabulous to be able to walk barefoot in the middle of this city as if we were on holiday? It is indeed, if every visitor keeps to the written and unwritten rules of these spaces. Unfortunately, there are always those who feel these rules are there just for them to violate them. One basic thing when leaving a community park is that we do not leave any rubbish behind lying in the grass. On the mentioned day, three young girls were sitting next to me chatting & sunbathing, as well as having a quick packed lunch before they decided to leave – without their plastic carrier bag. The bag slowly lifted off the grass as if saying farewell to the girls or trying to make them remember that they left something behind. The girls didn’t seem to be disturbed by the fact that others are staying there and would like to enjoy their free time without flying plastic bags.

Caring for the environment begins from the smallest thing – starting with good day-to-day habits – as well as starting at home, work, and where we live. To make the youths of today care about the environment, we have to start with better attitudes closer to home. We must ensure that they grow up being aware of the environmental damage that even littering causes. They must understand that each and every person has to take responsibility for their own actions and behaviour. Classes & lectures related to the topic will help, but parents are those who could do the most. Adults should stand as good example for children, who could hardly be blamed for copying our behavioural patterns. So please remember to take all your belongings with you.

  • http://singaporeaninlondon.com London Chow

    I’m surprised that the girls didn’t bring their litter along with them. Quite unlike the behaviour that I have witnessed thus far. But so very true about the situation in the Tube. Interestingly, the situation got better after alcohol was banned on public transport. At least there’re less empty bottles and cans lying around.

    Oh, great site here btw.