The Friday rant - 15.04.11

Why is it that wherever you go on this earth you seem to find litter ? I will never forget seeing so much junk washed up on the tide line in southern Angola some years ago now, and we went in there literally a few weeks after the brutal civil war ended. You would have thought a coastline that had remained essentially untouched for thirty years would have been litter free, but no, not at all, and I guess that most of it came floating in on the tide. Litter disgusts me like you would not believe, and seeing people drop litter I will admit brings out a side to me that is not that pretty. Oh, and I am putting this blog post up on Thursday evening because I am leaving at 5am in the morning to catch the ferry over to Jersey.

I am proud to be an angler, but I am also acutely aware that a very small minority of litter-dropping scumbag fishermen make the rest of us look very bad to the outside world. How does it look to a family walking along a beach on a Sunday afternoon when they find bait packaging and coils of tangled mono lying around ? "Aren't fishermen disgusting ?" would be a perfectly fair thing to say on seeing what a few people leave behind. We have all I am sure hiked to some remote spot in the middle of nowhere, only to find plastic bait packets discarded all over the rocks. Why ? What is the point ? How hard can it be to bag one's litter up and take it home or put it in a bin somewhere ? Fish, enjoy yourself, and then take home your litter. It's all about respect for where we spend our time.

There was a very good reply on my mate Nick Hart's Facebook page a while back from a guy who said he saw somebody drop their litter from a car, so he stopped to pick it up and then followed the idiots back home and dumped that rubbish on their own doorstep as they looked on somewhat quizzically I am sure. Outstanding if you ask me. We live on this earth, but we don't own it. This earth is a pretty awesome place if you ask me, so how could anybody go about dropping their litter on it ? The punishment for dropping litter in my opinion should involve something along the lines of being buried up to the neck in a landfill site for a few days, followed by having to spend another couple of days going around picking up other shamefully discarded litter. Fair ? Seems pretty good to me.

How many of you have seen somebody drop litter and then asked them to pick it up ? I remember walking my dog early one morning in Central Park in Plymouth when I saw some kid in a school uniform take the last sip from a can of coke and then just drop it on the ground and keep on walking. I could not stand it and I told him to pick it up. He looked at me like I was mad, but I stood there until he did pick it up. OK, so he might well have thrown it in the bushes when I carried on with my dog walk, but I could not stand by and do nothing. And anyway, what on earth was the kid doing drinking a can of coke that early in the morning ? Honestly, sometimes I think the world is going mad. Or is that me getting older and speaking as a father of two young girls ? Whatever the way, there is no excuse for littering. How about seeing a father drop litter in front of his children and then walk on as if it's the most normal thing in the world. I have seen it done, and I have also picked up the litter, handed it back, and said something like "I think you might have dropped this". Is that wrong of me to do that ?

There were a bunch of what I presumed were students not far away from where I was fishing the other evening, and as I walked back to my car I saw that they had left three of those instant barbecues just lying there - and not even put out either. Scum of the earth if you ask me, and I just wish I could have picked up the hot barbecues and made them put them out with their bare feet. How hard would it have been to put the barbecues out and then take their litter home with them ? I love the fact that around here in south east Cornwall there is so much coastline to enjoy, but surely a part of having access to places like this is a responsibility to leave the place as you found it ? People who leave litter should not be allowed out to enjoy this wonderful world.......