If you’re in Ripon, you could amble down Fisher Green Lane, with the allotments to one side and the River Ure to the other. It’s a nice enough little spot – just the place for a little stroll, or for walking the dog. It’s best not to keep your eyes on the ground though.
Because of the litter. Maybe it doesn’t look too bad at the moment. The nettles have done a sterling job of covering up old cigarette packets, discarded cups from McDonald’s (McDonald’s is a mile away for heaven’s sake), cans and bottles. But once you start to poke around, as the litter-picking squad from Plastic Free Ripon did on Sunday morning, this is what you’d find. Armed with high-viz gilets and grabs from the council, and protective gloves from Surfers against Sewage, we searched the verges and released litter from the nettles.
Twenty bags-worth of the stuff. On under 200 yards-worth of road. And that’s not counting the discarded excavator bucket from a small digger, the broken glass and a selection of planks.
We could be busy 24/7. But we’re volunteers and we can’t do that. It would be nice to think that people watching us working away might be encouraged to join us, or to think about whether they themselves are litter-louts. In fact we had fun together. And ate cake. And fruit donated by Brian-with-the-fruit-and-veg-stall. But it would still be better not to need to do it at all.