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Disposable nature

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:45 UK time, Tuesday, 17 August 2010

It seems as if this story comes around every summer...littering at our beauty spots and beaches.

Countryside rangers on Gower are becoming increasingly frustrated by the amount of litter they are finding at some of the areas most pristine beauty spots.

The recent good weather is largely to blame as more and more people venture out with disposable BBQ's and picnics to the coast.

Three Cliffs Bay, Oxwich Bay, Port Eynon, Whiteford Sands and Llangennith Beach are all recent problem areas where large amounts of litter have been found.

Joint patrols including National Trust staff are now on the look out for illegal campers.

It doesn't just effect Gower though. This is happening all over Wales in a variety of habitats - ranging from our inner city parks and rivers to woodlands and coastal areas.

People and I'm loathed to blame teenagers but generally 'younger people' gather in large groups to enjoy an evening sunset, BBQ and a drink but rarely leave behind just their footprints.

It's not just the youngsters responsible though as in amongst the cider and beer bottles, wardens are finding vintage bottles of wine and champagne.

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower by Terry Winter:
three_cliffs.jpg

It's as if the darkness hides not only their actions but also their conscience as they litter at will.

Some occasionally make an effort to clear up - pushing it all into a neat big pile in the corner of a car park for someone else to clear it up but at secluded bays, it can often take weeks before it's discovered.

People just don't seem to think about their actions any more.

Last summer I watched in disbelief as two families drove their cars out of the protected marram grass/ sand dunes at the north end of Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire.

Had they been arriving I would have said something but they'd already packed up and were trying to leave.

Unfortunately for them they got both cars stuck and damaged in the process - dinging both front bumpers in holes, so I felt justice had been served in that particular instance. Instant karma does occasionally happen.

Last month, I came across a large number of old fires which had been lit on small grassy outcrops along the coast between Rest Bay and Pink Bay in Porthcawl.

It's a pretty, pebbled area overlooking the Bristol Channel where grass is scarce at the best of times.

Not only was the earth scorched black and scattered with half burnt logs everywhere - the area was also littered with disposable BBQ's, smashed cider bottles and dozens of partly burnt beer cans.

It was almost as if they moved from one spot to the next, finding a new clean area to camp in each time with no consideration for the carnage they left behind.

Keep Wales Tidy, beach poster:
litter_poster.jpg
People and I'm loathed to blame teenagers but generally 'younger people' gather in large groups to enjoy an evening sunset, BBQ and a drink but rarely leave behind just their footprints.

It's as if the darkness hides not only their actions but also their conscience as they litter at will.

Some occasionally make an effort to clear up - pushing it all into a neat big pile in the corner of a car park, (for someone else to clear up) but at secluded bays, it can often take weeks before it's discovered.

People just don't seem to think about their actions any more.

I've often wondered about people's thought processes. Do they think fairies come down each night and clear up after them or that beer cans are biodegradable and simply dissolve during periods of heavy rain?

It's a real shame that people nowadays have so little respect for nature and their surrounding landscape. I know I sound like an old man ranting, but I never did this as a youngster and I don't see what has changed?

You drive to the beach with your food and drink and you drive home again, so why is it so hard to take your litter home with you when you leave?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue and what could be done to ease the problem.

Perhaps a more up to date TV campaign is needed or more posters put in place? Perhaps we need to make it easier for people to report littering offences and to fine people, quickly and effectively?

Drink cans remain unmoved on a beach for 200 years, plastic bottles for 500 years and glass bottles for over 1000 years, so perhaps people need to be made more aware of these facts?

It's a shame that we have to have organisations like Keep Wales Tidy, the National Trust and all the various volunteer and green groups who tirelessly clean up after us. But can you imagine the state of our beaches if they weren't out there collecting the rubbish?

Create you own litter campaign

Tidy Wales Week is happening from 20-26 September, 2010.

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