Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen litter strewn across our beaches in East Devon. The images I’m sharing are from Exmouth Community UK Facebook group.
I really can’t understand the mentality of people who visit a beautiful place and decide to ruin it for others. It’s incredibly selfish, lazy and suggests they believe other people should clear up their mess.
Local volunteers and dedicated council teams have now cleared it up, but it shouldn’t be on them to replace other people’s lack of personal responsibility.
Put litter in a bin or take it home with you.
There’s sadly no quick fix to the perennial problem of those who choose not to do the decent thing and tidy up after themselves.
Throwing more council taxpayers’ money at the issue with more EDDC StreetScene patrols might look like a tempting option, but it doesn’t address the real attitude problem we have to solve. It’s also not fair to expect the local council to take care of it when they have many other jobs to do.
Some councils have chosen to place signs in strategic places to remind people to pick up their litter. It would need to be quite a hard-hitting message to hit home.
I’ve spoken with Devon & Cornwall Police and I’m pleased they plan to use more patrols in known anti-social behaviour hotspots. For Exmouth, that’s on top extra CCTV covering Marine Drive, Orcombe Point and the seafront brought in last summer.
Littering is a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty on conviction of a fine of up to £2,500, although most enforcement is carried out by local authorities using fixed penalties of up to £150.
There’s concern with possible unacceptable behaviour this summer, so the power to enforce spot-fines needs to be used by councils and the police. Those who tarnish our landscapes with litter must feel the full force of the law.
I know this is an issue close to many people’s hearts in East Devon. Volunteers in our towns and villages take part in regular litter picks, with bigger events organised by the Budleigh Salterton Lions Club,, Exmouth Litter Blitzers, and the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors.
I’d like to thank them for all their hard graft and I’m looking forward to future events.