Neston's Activist Pensioners
|Author: Jennifer and Bob Scholey||Published: 1st April 2021 11:31|
It is widely known, since Blue Planet 2, that plastic is polluting the oceans in huge quantities, but how does it get there? Well, we have a good idea how some of it gets there in Neston!
During the past year we, as pensioners in our 70s, have been walking and cycling locally from Parkgate for exercise as lockdown restrictions allow. It took a while, but eventually we became so disgusted with the expanse of litter lining the verges of many of our rural roads and lanes that we decided to do something about it.
Sometimes walking with rucksack, litter picker and a few second-hand supermarket bags, and sometimes cycling with 2 panniers each we started to collect it from the worst areas. Since the beginning of February we have collected 85 of these bags full of glass, plastic bottles, aluminium cans and general waste. Over 75kgs of glass and 13kgs of mixed plastic bottles and aluminium cans have been sent for recycling.
In some places less than 100m of road produces more than our 2 bikes with panniers can carry. These are the plastic bottles and cans, together with plastic packaging and snack wraps which blow around the countryside, decorating the hedges and landing in rivers where they soon end up in the ocean.
Where is all this litter coming from, you might ask. In our opinion most of the general waste, plastic bottles and cans are a mix of escapees on a windy bin day, items which blow off badly covered skip lorries and pickup trucks, items dropped by walkers and, the majority, items thrown from vehicle windows.
The glass tells a different story of people walking the rural lanes (or sitting in lay-bys) with a bag full of booze discarding the empties as they go along. Often we find the bag, multi-buy packaging and all of the bottles one after the other! The biggest surprise has been the quantity of this glass thrown into the hedge bottom; beer bottles, wine bottles, spirits bottles, and not all of them empty.
Many people, both walking and in cars, have stopped to thank us for cleaning up and it is nice to be appreciated. But our reason for doing it is so that when we walk or cycle we can admire the views and enjoy the wildlife instead of only noticing the litter.
Wouldn't it be so much better if it was never dropped in the first place!