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United Kingdom

Britain is a nation of litter bugs

Emotional intelligence in the workplace



I am 36 years old and i am from Portugal, lived there for 25 years , then a few years in the Netherlands, some time in Spain  and for about 2 years here in UK and i never saw nothing like this. Here in the UK you see litter everywhere everything is dirty in the city and in the country . It is amazing for me also the in small cities and villages you do not see containers to put the garbage, you see in London but most of the time they are full like in the picture. Where i live you have to take the garbage with you and place it in you garbage container in your house or next to a supermarket.After i investigated this for a while i discover it was not always like this, if you litter in the past you would be called litter bug by your peer and now it is like is not cool to take the garbage with you.

I remember that i would not litter because my mother taught me not to do it, also in school and it was cultural, if you did it on the street in my home country people would look at you even would intervene, the most shy to say something even would pick it up for you, just to keep everything clean. There were some places that you could see warning signs if you litter you pay a fine, but i remember my city to be clean but i also remember during the summer people from the interior would come to the beach and would leave litter in the sand My impression is that people with no studies have more probability to litter.

To have an idea how much litter you can find in the UK there was an exercise to clean the country side where some “Litter heroes” clean it up, without any pay and they found this amount of garbage in 1 mile:

1 mile of country lane – 147 items of litter:

  • 40 drinks cans
  • 30 plastic bottles
  • 20 bits of fast food litter
  • 20 Crisp packets
  • 20 chocolate bar wrappers
  • 10 Cigarette packets
  • 6 Carrier bags
  • 1 hub cap (there’s always a hub cap)

litter-pickI saw these number in a website called . I found something written on this website that amazed me “Urban litter is just about under control. Drop a plastic drinks bottle on a city street and the Council will pick it up – it may take a few hours or a few days, but it will be picked up eventually.” That is why in my opinion this will not change here in the UK.  Here it is ok to drop litter in urban places because it will be picked up, they want to introduce bigger fines but if you do not pass the message that litter is not ok, it is not cool in the schools, inside the homes and on TV nothing will change.

I have a small story to tell you regarding something that happened to me about littering.  I lived for 6 months in Hertfordshire and near my place there were containers to separate the garbage for recycle and also normal containers, but there was always garbage in the floor. When Christmas arrived i received a lot of boxes from my home country with gifts and food and like always happens on this time of the year the containers are not big enough for all the garbage. Usually i keep the garbage till after Christmas holidays so the garbage companies could collect it without it being in the streets, but not my neighbours, piles and piles of garbage were on the outside. Since i had a lot of carton boxes, i flatten them up an left them at the side of the carton recycle bin for it to be collected. What happened next amazed me. I receive a letter to go to the council to testify because i was accused of littering, me who always respected the environment and always recycled , and around my building was litter everywhere. If i did not attended they would consider myself guilty and would there for pay a big fine.


Once i was there they showed me pictures of my address and name in one of the boxes and they wanted to blame me for the all lot of garbage ,not only the 2 carton flatten boxed i left next to the recycle container. This was done like in a police station with a tape recorder to save my testimony , ridiculous it is the least i can say. I was able to prove the other tones of litter were not mine and because i was moving out of that city to live somewhere else i was not prosecuted .

Uk spends a crazy amount of money to try to clean the litter:

Litter uk

So to conclude, in my opinion the only way to change this is not by using fear and fines but change mentalities starting in schools and in the family houses.


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