OPINION: Bin the rubbish attitude and take pride in Sheffield

Litterbugs have been fined
Litterbugs have been fined
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There is a scene in an early episode of hit animation The Simpsons in which a native American looks down at a discarded drinks can dumped by some litterbug before shedding a silent tear.

It’s a feeling I felt when, driving behind someone in Walkley, I witnessed the driver wind down his window and hurl an empty takeaway bag out on to the street.

I didn’t cry, but I did honk at him in rage.

You don’t have to be an environment nut to care about people making a mess of our city.

And it seems that the courts certainly care.

Today, The Star can report that 25 people have been fined a combined total of almost £10,000 for littering the streets of Sheffield.

Quite right.

While it may not be the most obscene of crimes, it is absolutely right that those treating our streets and public spaces with contempt should be prosecuted.

Sheffield has a proud history of being one of the greenest cities, not just in Yorkshire, or even the UK, but the whole of Europe.

The vast majority really care about the state of the city’s public spaces, as has been made abundantly clear throughout the long-running trees debate.

The decision to cut down trees across the city has been met with fervent opposition and resulted in some success in the High Court in securing an injunction.

It’s obvious that Sheffield residents are incredibly motivated to protect streets and open spaces in any way they can.

But there are still too many people who don’t share their passion, who choose the lazy and careless option instead.

Those 25 people who dropped litter - who have all been named and shamed in The Star today - are just the tip of the iceberg, the ones who refused to pay an on-the-spot £75 fine.

There were actually 1,200 people fined in Sheffield in the last year alone, and it’s a fair bet that there were many others who littered and got away with it.

Sheffield Council must be applauded for tackling these menaces and showing a dedication to keeping our streets clean.

Equally, it’s time those who are guilty of making a mess of our city took responsibility for their actions.

If we want a city we can be proud of, we all have to take a little bit of pride every day and make an effort to keep it that way.

It’s time those people trashing our city binned the bad attitude and cleaned up their act.