Can there be an act more blatantly rude and selfish than dropping litter in public?
Of course there are many crimes and offences more serious and it would be silly to suggest litter louts are on a par with career criminals.
But when you see someone discard a wrapper as they walk down the street or the hand comes out of a car window and you just know a cigarette butt is going to come floating your way as you drive behind; there can’t be a right-minded person whose heart doesn’t sink.
Why do people do it?
I’m sure the list of excuses is long and tenuous.
For the truth of the matter is that there is no excuse. Most of us are taught from an early age to put our rubbish in a bin.
No bin? Well take it home with you or carry it until you find one.
We’re not talking rocket science here.
Today in The Star we name and shame 22 people who ignored reminders to pay a £75 fixed penalty notice issued by Sheffield Council enforcement officers. They have recently been taken to court by the council and fined up to £440 each for the offence plus costs – £11,650 in total.
Often we hold councils across our area to account but on this issue we stand firmly behind them.
And the reason we do so is because littering is such a simple problem to solve, but one that needs the support of all members of the community.
A street or a town centre strewn with litter looks uncared for. It looks as though the people who live or work there aren’t bothered. Maybe that is the case. Maybe litter louts don’t care about their surroundings or the other people who find it distasteful.
If that is the case then it is such a sad state of affairs.
People who don’t respect others have no respect for themselves.
It is interesting looking at the ages of the people on the list that it goes from late teens through to middle-aged. Amazingly, someone has been convicted of the offence twice! Surely the shame on the first occasion would be enough for many of us.
Nobody is perfect. We all have our own faults. There’s nothing to say that these litter louts aren’t exemplary citizens apart from these transgressions.
The chances are that they aren’t, though. This selfish act can tell you a lot about someone’s character. So, to those who think dropping litter is okay, show a little bit of self-respect, please.