Litter bugs and pissing in the street

Ever since I read Gemma’s post about her Bishop’s Meadow litter pick, I have been thinking I should do the same. There are some lovely rose gardens and a small field of daffodils very close to our home and both seem to be permanently spoilt with litter.

One afternoon this week as I was cycling the kids home from school, Daniel noticed the litter in amongst the daffodils and suggested we go and pick it up. I jumped on this flicker of interest from him and the three of us went out this afternoon with a rubbish bag and rubber gloves and started collecting litter. I didn’t think we’d get all that much because the area is quite small but we ended up with a pretty full bag of rubbish:

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What was particularly irritating is that there’s a rubbish bin right next to the daffodils. It’s the height of laziness to throw litter on the ground when there’s a rubbish bin right there. Why do people do it?

When I was a kid Australia had quite a prominent anti-litter campaign involving tv commercials and print media advertising called “Do the right thing”. Here’s one of the commercials:

It must have had quite a bit impact on me because I still remember the jingle 30 years later and I would never dream of dumping my rubbish anywhere other than a rubbish bin.

While I’m having this rant let me move onto pissing in the street. Why do men think it’s ok to urinate in public? It really isn’t. It’s incredibly uncouth and coming from an Aussie this is damning indeed. Flushing toilets have been around for several hundred years now. Please use them!

27 thoughts on “Litter bugs and pissing in the street

  1. I visited Aberdeen during a family holiday as a child in the 1970s. The only thing I remember was a poster campaign about litter which the slogan “PIT IT IN A BIN, MIN”. Or at least, that’s how I remember it!

  2. Nice post. I spend at lot of time in our local parks, often on the grass relaxing, sunning, or stretching. Nothing bothers me more than litter (and cigarette butts) when there are so many litter bins in the area. Good for you and your children for “doing the right thing”!

    I don’t see many (if any) men peeing in the street here. Although, I often wish I could. I now question whether I want to visit Scotland. I have been considering a trip there for the scotch, golf and cycling.

    1. I’ve only seen one man piss in the street and it was in the centre of town early one evening. But it’s something I’ve seen in Britain before. It may simply be that I haven’t spent as much time in the CBD in other cities I’ve lived in or it could be there’s more of a culture of pissing in the street here. I’m not sure.

      In any case, Scotland is a gorgeous place so don’t let me put you off!

      1. My husband got a job at the University here so we didn’t specifically choose Aberdeen. He was looking for jobs at a number of UK Universities. We wanted to live in a small, compact, walkable city.The job in Aberdeen came up and we both love Scotland. We visited Aberdeen for a few days first to see whether we could see ourselves living here and yes, we could. So he applied and here we are. It’s a lovely city to live in with young children. It has the community feel of a village but the amenities of a city. There’s lovely countryside on its doorstep and also the sea.

  3. Good for you, Daniel and Elizabeth for being rubbish collectors! As for men who pee in public, I guess they do because they can…and they’re anti-social slobs. Who wants to walk in their pee or be assaulted by the smell?

    1. Thank you! I’m not sure how quickly the rubbish will build up again. We may have to do it on a regular basis. I’ll be sure to keep note from now on.

  4. That is wonderful! Your kids are terrific! Around where we live people are good about picking up their trash, but the wind gets so bad, it will grab stuff from bins, even open bins, and throw it everywhere. 😦

    1. Yes, the kids were great. I was so proud of them and I made sure to let them know.

      I also wondered how much of the litter was due to wind. It was probably responsible for at least part of it but not all.

  5. Rachel

    First, I quite agree with you about pissing in the street. Vile habit. One should always use a phone box.

    Second, if you and the kids are going to pick up litter (your place in heaven is assured) then perhaps you should get some of those grabber things the council and volunteer litter-pickers use round here. Safer and more hygienic all round. Even in Winchester one does come across the odd discarded syringe, I’m sorry to say.

    1. Yes, that’s probably a good idea. I like to think I’d notice a syringe before picking it up though. I did come across a condom and made sure to pick that one up before the kids got to it. It was mostly bits of plastic, some cans, paper, and bottle tops.

      1. I like to think I’d notice a syringe before picking it up though.

        So I’m sure would we all 😉

        The problems can arise when there is heavy littering (which makes you work faster and perhaps less carefully) or dead leaves and you don’t see what lies beneath, as it were. Glass, faeces etc. are more common than sharps, but it’s all bad news 😉

      2. Ok, you’ve convinced me. I wouldn’t want any of us to catch HIV. Otherwise Nigel Farage would be knocking on our door with one-way tickets back to the Antipodes 🙂

      3. I think it was extremely brave of you to come back to this country knowing that there was such a thing as The Farage and that it was still going to be here.

    1. I like Bill Bryson. I’ve never heard of his litter campaign until now though so it’s obviously not working very well. He’s got a good video about it on YouTube –

      – but it hasn’t had many views. It requires unrelenting action in all media avenues, fines for littering, talks in schools, and big a clean-up initially to get rid of it all. When people see littler on the ground they’re more likely to add to it.

  6. I wonder, if one caught a person peeing in the street and took a pic as evidence then who would be more ‘culpable’? the p%%#ser or the ‘voyeur’? I have heard of people who have been done for indecent exposure for doing that- We have signs around Auckland and some Aussie cities to advise people not to spit- apparently a rather ungracious habit of certain cultures…They did have a tidy kiwi campaign and I am constantly reminding the kids to dispose of stuff in a thoughtful manner- We try to reduce packaging where we can-

  7. In the USA, Boy Scouts have a slogan of “do a good turn daily” and while that certainly includes picking up litter, I advise to be cautious in some places. In the mountains at an “ad hoc” campsite will be bottles and cans; but they could be tainted with illegal drugs so your “good turn” could land a person in jail.

    In other news, I’m fairly sure one of my ancestors is from Aberdeen and one or more are buried in Rathen northward toward Fraserburgh.

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