Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Littering.

The warm weather is back, and the crowds are starting to arrive at the river bend over on Beetley Meadows. Promoted by people on Facebook, family groups arrive from all over central Norfolk. Their children play safely in the shallow water, then enjoy picnic lunches on the tables and benches provided. Free of charge, and free parking on nearby streets and roads, it offers the benefits of a day at the seaside without the crowds, cost, or having to sit in traffic. Very few live locally, but that’s fine. It’s a public area for all to enjoy, after all.

Some arrive unaware that there are no toilet facilities, or shops nearby. I am often asked where they can buy drinks or ice creams, or if there any any public toilets to use. They seem shocked to discover that the nearest shop is in a different village over two miles away, and that toilets are not provided by the tiny Beetley Parish Council.

For those of us that use the area every day, in all weathers, the annual influx of people from outside Beetley on sunny days and during school holidays is something we havve become used to. Very often, the people at the river bend will eventually make their way to the small playground and football/basketball pitch, when their kids have tired of geting wet. So we are used to seeing them using those facilities too.

But the downside is the littering. Numerous bins are provided for litter, and emptied weekly by contractors. They are not that big though, so the bins soon become overwhelmed with the debris of ten or twelve families and their all-day picnics. Then the even smaller bins in the playground and ball-court areas are filled within an hour or two, as they have more drinks and snacks.

So what should these people do? Well, take it home with them of course. Use the bags they brought the food and drink in to take home their rubbish so it is not left littering our local Meadows. What they actually do is stack it next to the already overflowing bins, as if expecting someone to arrive immediately to clear up after them. The more inventive among them actually place their garbage carefully on top of the bins, knowing full well it will soon slip down, or be blown off by the slightest breeze.

Moving here from a litter-strewn city like London, I was very impressed by how neat and tidy Beetley is.

Until the weather gets warm, and the outsiders arrive. Then it is just like London in miniature.

59 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. It might be that people think they’re doing the right thing, not knowing that Beetley doesn’t have swift trash removal. If they’re piling up their trash beside the barrel, that is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I live one dune back from Lake Michigan. My word we are getting to be a popular beach. Tourists do not pack out their trash, neither do they pick up after their dogs. They must think there’s a poop fairy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Signs would help. And a town sign that says no toilets. My God, why didn’t they provide recycle bins for things that can be recycled?
    After the 4th of July on Rockaway beach in Oregon, I would fill two large trashbags myself. People are obscene, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Parish Council is unpaid, and has limited money and powers, Lara. Local people put up hiome-made signs about the litter, but they are either torn down, or ignored. When the contractors collect the stuff from the bins, they do separate bottles and cans for recycling. Once the school holidays start in July, it reaches a ‘litter-peak’ of annoyance!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was a bit surprised, when I was last in the UK, that it is not as neat and tidy as I expected. Reading this and noting there are no public toilets, I hate to think what else your visitors leave behind. The council really should make some toilets available, even if they are mobile toilets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We only have a Parish Council in Beetley, and it has little money. Most of the land is owned by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, and they will not tolerate putting toilets in the area, or allowing ice cream etc to be sold. If they had their way, it would all be let go, as in ‘back to nature’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. I knew where this was going as soon as I started reading. People are just plain rude! Actually, they probably don’t intend to be, they just aren’t capable of thinking sensible thoughts. I would be inclined to put a sign on the trash bin saying “For use of residents only. Please take your trash with you when you leave.” But that would sound hostile and God knows there’s already enough of that. It’s all a matter of thinking about someone other than oneself, a concept sadly lacking these days.
    That’s my rant!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. (1) What about those feral cats? How are they when it comes to littering?
    (2) People who avoid bins are obviously going around the bend.
    (3) My wife gave me a halfhearted back rub. Let’s just say it was rubbish.
    (4) When people see an overflowing bin, they instinctively go with the flow.
    (5) Lulu is looking for a toilet. I told her to go knock on your door.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sad that they don’t take responsibility…hopefully someone from your town council will figure out how to adapt to this influx to mitigate the litter…after all, is that what local government is for?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do mostly live in Norfolk, usually in a 20-mile radius of Beetley. But we have that perfect combination of a safe shallow river and large picnic area that many places do not have.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Should i send congratulations, or should I feel more sorry for you Pete? 😉
    Isn’t it a great celebration of the upcoming summer?
    If people could make it this far. Our “gentlemen” would like to rid you of some tourists. Lol
    But we don’t have any public toilets either. But there is now at least one vending machinem where you can even get grilled meat (of course to fry) 24/7, and cold drinks. Lol
    Have a wonderful rest of the Sunday! Maybe Ollie is able to date a fourlegged lady from London? 😉 Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People should know better than to throw plastic bottles around near wildlife. Everyone knows they can get stuck in them, or worse. It is so well publicised, there’s no excuse.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s how this town was when the “snowbirds” arrived in the winter. But each year, more and more would just plain stay here – so now, instead of a quaint, seaside town, it is perpetually another West Palm or Fort Lauderdale.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. There are very few things in life I can say sincerely that I hate, but littering is one of them; there is no excuse whatsoever. A society whose members [admittedly a minority, but nevertheless] are willing to leave their detritus for other people to deal with can’t regard itself as civilised. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s very annoying. The geniuses that visit my seaside town manage not only to burn the wooden groynes that protect the beach from erosion with their bbq trays, but instead of dousing the trays with seawater when finished they put them in the plastic litter bins which then often burst into flames.
    Another treat are the broken beer bottles which on a pebble beach is a nasty and barely visible hazard especially dangerous for pets and children.

    Still, it’s always nice to have a day out!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those portable barbecues are a menace. Last year, someone melted the top of one of the resin picnic tables using one of those on it. Hope all’s well with you mate.
      Take care. Pete. x

      Like

    1. I see them heading off into the woods to pee. The kids probably just pee in the river. Not sure if they also do ‘big jobs’ there, as I haven’t seen any evidence. They would have to drive 3.3 miles back into Dereham for a public toilet or a supermarket loo. I just hope they get stung by nettles on their ‘bits’!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It makes me fume. Coming home from my daughter’s last summer in the heatwave I had to stop at traffic lights and there on the verge, neatly packed into a plastic bag was the rubbish from a picnic, obviously decided to just sling it out when stopped at the lights. It baffles me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Last year I was driving behind a car on the A47, heading in the direction of Norwich. The front passenger opened the window and threw a disposable nappy into the bushes on the verge. I was going to catch up with them and make my annoyance known, but my exit was coming up. I think those nappies are one of the worst inventions ever.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

    1. When I was young, we didn’t have all that packaging, or disposable bottles. We took the food in containers that we owned and took home with us, and the bottles were refilled or returned for the deposit that had to be left on them. When cling film came on the market, my mum even used to save that! Nowadays, everything comes in a wrapper, plastic bag or bottle, or can. People seem to be very resistant to taking all that home to dispose of in their own bins. And the nappies of course! Disposable nappies dumped on verges and in car parks.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s infuriating. If I see them casually drop stuff, I politely point out the bins. They look at me as if I am crazy! One local couple walk around with rubbish bags and those ‘grabber’ devices. They clean up all along the riverbank to stop the waterfowl and wildlife being affected by the rubbish going into the river. They shouldn’t have to use their free time to do that.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Remember the old ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign, Jim? I think we need those adverts back on TV! 🙂
      When I was on a walking holiday around Keswick in 2016, I constantly remarked about how litter-free the beauty spots were. It’s a shame the lockdowns/pandemic have attracted litterbugs to the area now.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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