Twenty sacks of litter
Written and published by Jazz Moreton on 10/01/2022
Photograph taken by Alan Van Wijgerden on 09/01/2022
I have a problem.
Coventry has a problem. The West Midlands has a problem. England has a problem. The UK, probably all of Europe and the rest of the world have a shared problem.
Yesterday, on a sleepy Sunday morning that I could easily have spent in bed like a normal person, I joined Hearsall Litterbusters on one of their regular litter-picks.
A group of nineteen of us spent an hour filling a sack or two each with litter found on streets, in gutters, in car-parks, roads, under hedges, near the river Sherbourne, absolutely anywhere we looked, we saw and collected litter.
Seemingly popular waste items to throw on the ground and forget about in Coventry seem to be presumably empty Nitrous Oxide canisters, cigarette butts, crisp packets, beer bottles, beer cans, plastic bottles, cigarette packets complete with cellophane wrappers, polystyrene chip cartons, various takeaway and fast food packaging, and this week your intrepid reporters Alan Van Wijgerden and Jazz Moreton spotted but didn’t touch nine drums of unidentifiable chemicals, and two trolleys that had been conveniently dumped behind a wire fence.
Scientists, concerned individuals, and anyone that takes the time to look into this fact are aware that no piece of glass, ceramic, or most plastic has ever biodegraded, and my Sundays spent with Hearsall Litterbusters have proven this to me.
Should we have to litter-pick every Sunday when collectively filling about twenty sacks with litter doesn’t really make a dint on our local environment? No. There have to be systemic changes made in order for humanity across the globe not to continually pollute this tiny, overpopulated, green-but-turning-greyer planet.
Alan and I have spent an evening doing research and mathematics, and have discovered that, according to bpf.co.uk’s statistics (1), it would take Hearsall litterbusters 6000 Sundays or just over 115 years to pick up 1 year’s worth of UK plastics production.
For a different project, Alan and I happened to touch on the fact that scientists have discovered that the consumption of microplastics- which end up in our drinking water, our air, and our food- in mice significantly decreases sperm production (2). Although there appear not to be human studies into sperm production following consumption of microplastics (likely for ethical reasons), it is clear that the human race is likely to diminish if we keep creating and consuming plastics.