Do the right thing!

June 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Posted in Australia, Destroying nature, Gardens, Health, Nature, Social Responsibility, Society, Ways of Living | 1 Comment
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Part of the community park where we walked.

We went for a walk this morning after the rain cleared up a bit. We’ve pretty well walked most of the park now – yesterday morning we covered another section too, in the rain. The whole walking path, parkland and sporting complex, which cover a large area, are in the area in which we grew up. It all looks great – except for the rubbish.

We are dismayed by the amount of it all around the park.

We’ve had heavy rain the last few days, and the waterways, as well as the lawns, bushes and trees, are full of detritus. Many cans and bottles are strewn on the lawn along the sides of the walkways. There are also various food and sweet wrappings, and, in some places, even condoms.

Discarded bottles in the waterway.

So many people just don’t care. Too many of them don’t think about others or their surroundings. They believe that someone else will clean up after them because that’s how they have been brought up. And besides, surely that’s the groundsman’s job, to pick up litter!

Those who think that way should be put to work, cleaning up the whole community! But I don’t think they would like that somehow. I don’t think they would like it either if passers-by tossed their rubbish into their yard, expecting them to pick it up. And yet, that is essentially what they are doing themselves.

Many years ago, when my children were young, the Australian government ran an anti-litter campaign. It was called “Do the right thing”, and ran for several years in the 1970s. It was amazingly successful, and the amount of deposited litter reduced considerably.

Australian government logo for ‘Do the right thing’.

It seems that now though, we aren’t allowed to make our kids – or grown-ups for that matter – do anything they don’t want to do.

Also, instead of trying to increase awareness and improve the problem of littering, and to introduce a container deposit scheme, state and federal governments are backing down to the soft drink companies.

The return system has operated in the state of South Australia for over thirty years. Containers are returned to a recycling centre, and the deposit is paid back to them. I lived in S.A. for six years, and made very handy pocket money from returning empties.

Those who want to see how successful the system is just have to go there. S.A. is the cleanest state in the country. Just crossing the border into the other states graphically shows up the difference. As well as there being few discarded drink containers, even general rubbish is much less evident on roadsides and in public places. The message spreads!

But the big drink manufacturers and distributors, like Coca-Cola-Amatil, the biggest of them, are fighting the introduction of this system into other parts of Australia. They say that putting a five or ten cent levy on the cost of a drink will reduce consumption. What utter rot! Price rises may cut sales a little, but only for a very short time (look at the sales of alcohol and tobacco – levies and tax increases on those have made little difference in overall sales). And you get your money back if you return your drink containers – more if you collect and return the empties of those who can’t be bothered.

Instead of fighting it, big business should embrace it, and at least make a show of having an environmental conscience.

But will they? I doubt it!

Rant over, thanks!

 

(c) Linda Visman

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  1. It’s sad that we need to put a price on the bottles, cans etc to get people to do the right thing 😦 As a sole parent for many years I collected cans along our country road and cashed them to help pay for extra (even at Victorian prices it adds up) but it makes me mad to see how much is thrown from car windows. My daughter lives in SA and we have often noticed how much less rubbish there is along the road there, including the things that don’t attract a refund.


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