Litter louts make me ashamed to be English

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I have just returned from a very enjoyable holiday with relatives in Germany.

During my stay I noticed a few cultural differences, although there were many more things we have in common. But the one huge difference I noticed was litter.

No matter where I went in Germany, in the spectacular countryside, the quaint old towns, or even the modern cities rebuilt after the war, there was a remarkable absence of litter. When I asked my relatives why everything seemed so tidy, they said it is simply that the German people do not tolerate littering – for them it is a social taboo. If a litter bin overflowed (but they never do), people would be queuing up to pick up litter from the floor, they would be so offended by the sight of it.

Now I’m back home and the amount of litter here makes me ashamed to be English. On a walk around Clitheroe, or even in the Ribble Valley countryside, litter is everywhere. Every grass verge or public area is strewn with it and I see people walking along casually dropping litter without a thought, or even throwing it from car windows. It’s time we had litter wardens issuing on-the-spot fines in the same way the dog mess wardens do.

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