If you ask me...I've got a plan for those who ruin my favourite green space with litter

Just so you know, leaving an empty drink can on top of a wall doesn’t make it all right

Share

If you ask me, I’ve had an idea, to do with littering, and this idea is a cracker. First off, I should tell you I despise littering more than almost anything else I can think of. It does something to my insides. It makes me want to throw up, to weep. And just so you know, and because sometimes you have to spell things out, leaving an empty drink can on top of a wall doesn’t make it all right, just as folding a crisp packet and inserting it between railings doesn’t make it all right. One more, for luck? OK, picking up dog poo and hanging the bag from a tree doesn‘t make it all right either.

But what can you do, particularly if you’ve tried remonstrating with litter droppers and only ever been told to F-off? Well, why don’t we try to protect our public green spaces, at least, and make people earn the right to be there on sunny days.

Take Hampstead Heath, which is 800 acres of woodland and meadows and ponds in north London, and is a glorious place. I usually visit three or four times a week, with the dog, and I am there in the winter, in the rain and the snow and the mud and on days so overcast and grey you can’t see a thing from the top of Parliament Hill.

But, today? On this beautiful day? Won’t go, can’t go. Because I know, even though there are plenty of bins, that it’ll be strewn with rubbish left by picnickers – or the “Fairweather Tossers”, as I call them – and this will break my heart, and because the dog will scavenge, as dogs do, and I don’t want him choking on a wrapper.

So, you see what I’m saying? I’m saying that the people who love the Heath the most, and are engaged with the Heath the most, cannot go to the Heath on the days that they’d like to go the most. Not fair, right?

Now, my cracker of an idea. You know how coffee shops give you a loyalty card and stamp it every time you buy a coffee? And 10 stamps get you a free one? Well, why not a Heath loyalty card? And a stamp for every time you are there on a gloomy day, and when you have 10 stamps, you have earned the right to be there on a nice day, and to enjoy it without having to wade through discarded crisp packets and plastic carriers and beer bottles and rubbish bagged up but then abandoned. (Nope, that doesn’t make it all right either.) And the Fairweather Tossers? They can F-off, for once. Yes, they bloody well can.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own