How many times have you seen a well-dressed, well-mannered, well-spoken person who casually throws wrapper or container either on the ground or out of a window? How does that make you feel? Litter is an ever increasing problem in our times. It constitutes matter that is disposed of improperly, without consent, in an inappropriate location. The people who do this choose to leave their litter there instead of disposing of it in a bin. This phenomenon doesn’t only occur in remote locations or roadsides but is common in city centers. Although it is the responsibility of the Msunduzi Municipality’s to keep the city clean, the cities current state requires intervention by citizens. Simply put, our city shouldn’t be as dirty as it is. It doesn’t have to be this way. Unfortunately some people find “valid” reasons for littering. People take marketing pamphlets even though they know they will throw them next to the person distributing them. This doesn’t help the marketers and is also rude. Others claim they litter to create employment. So by their logic we should all wallow in our own filth until someone comes and cleans up after us-I don’t believe this is sustainable or healthy!. Some of the worst are those people that throw cigarette butts while they are still smoldering. The public is then exposed to secondhand smoke and unsightly half-smoked cigarettes. We cant forget about the clowns that try to throw rubbish into the bin from a distance, miss and are too embarrassed to pick it up and throw it in properly, so they walk away as if nothing happened.
Behind some of these actions are the following attitudes:
People can’t be bothered or are too lazy to find a bin
They have no sense of pride in their community
They don’t appreciate the consequences of littering
They aren’t aware that some items are litter e.g. food, cigarette ends, chewing gum
They believe It’s OK to litter if no one can see you!
They believe It’s OK to litter if you are drunk!
They believe there aren’t enough bins
They believe the bins aren’t big enough
They think one person can’t make a difference
It’s rebellious and anti-authoritarian to litter
There are much worse things in the world to worry about than litter .
Littering on the streets is one of the main reasons that our streets flood after heavy rains. Our storm water drains get blocked by the litter that people throw directly into them or the litter that gets washed off the streets. The purpose of these drains is to take excess water off the streets into closest waterways rivers and beaches. Litter makes this system ineffective. Drivers are also guilty of littering carelessly. Throwing waste out of a car has been known to be the cause of road accidents, even resulting in death. Garden waste can also be defined as litter if it not placed strategically. The “R1000 fine “signs (without monitoring or enforcement) are not doing enough to deter people from leaving heaps of unsorted garden waste wherever they please. We need to be more creative with how we dispose of our garden waste, maybe by introducing compost-making schemes. All of these trends have contributed to Africa having some of the dirtiest cities in the world. If the attitudes don’t change, our situation is likely to get worse because as we become more affluent, our consumption of disposable products will also increase.
Thats our piece and tell them you heard it from Dumisani Ndaba. Dumisani is a qualified Hydrologist with his Honours in Town Planning. We’ll be uploading part 2 of his Human Rights article title about “What Can We do About Litter”tomorrow