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Litter Picking, 28 Days Later...

There have been so many days, weeks, month and years where I've done nothing about the problem of littering. Until Feb 2021 where I was inspired to start from a dog poo bag filled walk down from High Dam in the Lake District!

The problem is very real, it's everywhere you can see and everywhere you can't! It's like treasure hunting but instead of being rewarded with costly vintage artefacts, you're rewarded with a cleaner earth to live upon.

I'm doing this because our environment matters, nature gives to me a good place to be mindful, so I'm giving back to nature. People are going to see a cleaner environment so they are able to keep their eyes on the landscape, not the litter.

The common litter I've found are lots of clear wrappings, glass bottles, soda cans, plastic bottles, dog poo bags (often without poo in), nerf bullets and even some drugs! Littered by drinkers, dog walkers, smokers and other less inconsiderate human beings. It's everywhere and most of it isn't going to degrade anytime soon, on crisp packet I found stuffed in a village wall dated back to 2003.

This month I've collected 38 bags of litter, more than one a day and equates to around five full grey council bins, which doesn't sound like much but bare in mind most litter is smaller than a crisp packet. The glass bottles I've recycled, as well as some plastics and cans.

The oldest litter I've found has been a crisp packet from Feb 1997 (24 years old) and a Stein Gold Lager can with an old style ring-pull from Sept 1985 (35 and a 1/2 years old)!

I've been doing this around Kendal, Windermere and within the Lake District to inspire others to do the same and to show people it's a socially acceptable thing to be doing. There's groups of kind humans out there doing it in all sorts of places and it's possible for you to be a part of this as well, there's no shame in picking up litter, thanks are given by strangers and you'll feel more humble afterwards for doing your part. If you want to be a part of it then either find yourself a group like "The Lakes Plastic Collective", "Trash Free Trails", "Lakes Litter Tribe" or just head on out into your local area and start collecting.

I'd like more people to care about the environment they live in, to be less lazy in their actions and put litter in a bin/take it home. When they say a face mask is disposable, it's disposable in a bin, not in a bush or the floor. The humble banana skin takes 2 years to biodegrade and most plastics won't ever degrade.

There's still so much more litter out there and it's not possible for me to collect it alone. More importantly this story doesn't end today, there's one piece of litter in a place that not many people can get to or even know about, which you'll find out about soon!

Litter Picking

All photographs available high-res on request.

Words and photographs by James Kirby.