I know that Glasgow has a problem with litter, because my daily dog walk is strewn with old litter-faithfuls: the caffe latte coffee cup lid, lying somehow immovable on the pavement; the bottle of Irn Bru in the front garden of an abandoned house; the plastic fork lying next to a rotting pile of dog poo; and the list goes on.
So familiar is the sight of litter that I’ve mentally constructed my own Keep Britain Tidy ad campaigns featuring plastic Starbucks cups with names scrawled on the side (seriously guys, if you insist on littering then you might want to throw away something that doesn’t have your name on it!).
I digress, but you get the picture. Littering is so common in Glasgow as to seem, dare I say it, normal. And nowhere is this more apparent than in Glasgow’s parks.
Littering on the street I can almost get – almost - if I have to try and inhabit the mind of a person who simply doesn’t care about the planet. Streets are concrete, often uninspiring places, populated by cafes, shops, takeaways and the like. So if you’re too lazy to wait for a bin then why not just chuck your litter in the street?
But park littering is a complete anathema to me, especially in places like Queens Park that are full of character and beauty, but in peril of being ruined by litter.
Queens Park gets so bad that my partner refuses to walk the dog there and rolls his eyes at me dare I even suggest it. He hates running the food gauntlet down by the pond, or trying to avoid other unmentionable waste product alongside the paths.
As a dog walker I’m probably more attuned to waste than other non-doggy people, mainly because I have an animal who loves anything even remotely food-related, and everything that smells bad. But there’s still plenty to irk parents of small children, who may unwittingly find themselves on an unsponsored litter-pick. And I’d argue that even if you don’t have anything small or furry to contend with, there are parts of Queens Park where the sight of litter is completely unavoidable. Just check out the ponds in the aftermath of a sunny day. Atrocious…
Part of the problem is inadequate bin covers (see previous blog on Richmond Park), but I fear that the real reason for littering is more insidious than that: littering has become a habit and we’re getting used to it.
But sad as this may sound, it’s not an irreversible problem; all it requires is a bit of action from like-minded folk, like us, the dog walkers.
I’m not talking about stopping people and telling them to pick up their rubbish, but do what you can to show that you care. Pick up other people’s litter if it bothers you (and, gulp, their dog poo); join litter picking groups; write to the council if you need to and generally show that you give a damn.
There’s a lot more that could be done from above, but don’t just leave it to the powers that be to sort this problem out. It’s our problem and we need to fix it.