Why do we – as a society – tolerate behaviour that damages our environments, drags down our community well-being and costs millions to clean-up? Anti-littering efforts need more than eye-catching posters and volunteer pick-ups to be successful. We must see the law properly enforced against those who violate fundamental human decency: respect one another and do nothing that will harm your neighbour.
Tragically, Moray Council – compared to other Local Authorities – has a shockingly poor record in terms of fining culprits caught red-handed. Whilst only 11 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued up here in November 2012-13, raising just £250, in Conwy (Wales) £176,925 was collected from 1,646 fines paid, out of 2,359 issued between April 2013-14. Basically, litter enforcement officers can more than cover their expenses!
So, will we shrug our shoulders or demand action from our elected representatives. If we cannot tackle litter – an easily identifiable and solvable challenge – what hope for all other initiatives? Government must grow-up and realise its responsibilities for making Britain a better place to live. This means creating the structures to punish wrong-doing and reward those who make right choices.
Take just one more example. I see far too many bins for communal flats where hardly any effort goes into recycling. Countless cans of lager – mixed with cigarette ash – are stuffed into overflowing green bins. As individuals trash their health, they also destroy our environment, leaving everyone else to pick-up the bill.
The solutions are simple common sense, but not one politician I email has the guts to state the obvious. In New York City, recycling violations carry penalties, which begin at $25 and reach (after four or more fines within six months) $500. Do they say it’s too difficult to police? If you want to govern, you must make tough decisions and lay down the law, so Britain gets back on track.