I go for a lot of walks and, as I do so, I feel a near-constant urge to pick up litter.
I’ve considered buying some gloves and bin bags for just this purpose: so that my walks might be more useful than mere exercises in burning calories, collecting steps, and providing an admittedly-important space for thought.
And yet I resist. As compelling and reasonable as the urge to pick up litter might be, I don’t want to become an unpaid a litter picker. I’m already a barely-paid (but integrity-rich) writer and a (very, very) poor man’s David Sedaris. There’s a point of justice here too: the council should divert funds away from middle management and into picking up litter faster than people can drop it and, of course, people shouldn’t be dropping it in the first place.
So I’ve decided to impose a little rule about picking up some litter: I will pick up plastic take-away forks. Goodness knows there’s enough of them around and they’re often overlooked by the council’s “pro” litter-pickers on account of their being small. That way, I can increase the utility value of my walks without becoming obsessive about it or feeling like a volunteer patsy.
I have a thought about small pieces of plastic litter that go unpicked: they probably end up in the ocean and jammed into some innocent blowhole, don’t they? I mean, Glasgow’s not a coastal town, but these plastic forks and bottle caps and the likes are probably rained along the gutters, washed into the Clyde, swept into the Firth, and onward into the sea. It hardly takes geological time for Senga McWeegie’s absent-minded take-away forkdrop to end up juddering like a schoolboy’s ruler from some sinless Caribbean swim bladder.
So that’s what I’ve started to do. On my walks, I pick up forks and I put them in the bin, working on the assumption that they’ll soon be snuggled down warmly in the landfill (yes, this is a time-travelling hyperlink to the age of the Morlocks) where they can’t be any more trouble. Join me! Pick up some forks! Stoop, I dare you, for the Oceans!