Home > Comment, Rants > An opportunity to vent – Littering, a law unto itself

An opportunity to vent – Littering, a law unto itself

I am not one to rant… Actually I am, so I must clarify. I am not one to rant without reason. The dictionary definition of ranting is: To speak or write in an angry manner.1 This gives it some very unpleasant overtones for those of us who wish to write or speak angrily, the accusation of raving, which is ‘to speak or write with wild enthusiasm’.

So instead of raving, or ranting like a lunatic, I am going to vent, as in ‘vent ones frustrations’. So I’m merely providing an outlet for my frustrations. But I hope that the two topics I’ve picked can be empathised with by many who read this and are maybe causes for other people to rant and rave themselves.

Our streets are littered with horse dung and cigarette ends.
Horse dung and cigarette ends litter our streets

The first thing that has really been grinding my gears is police horses, for two very distinct reasons. The first is the fact that in a technologically advanced society, where the police and armed forces have access bikes, motorbikes, cars, vans, jeeps and even tanks, what use is a horse in modern law enforcement? Of course a horse is very large and imposing, but surely putting the life of another living thing in the danger zone is totally unnecessary nowadays.

Anyway, the real problem I have with police horses is the fact that they crap everywhere. Walking to meet a friend for lunch in Bristol I had to avoid two extremely large and still steaming piles of horse-shit! If I had stood in this excrement I would have not been very popular at my final destination, but this is beside the point.

My main problem is that while civilians can receive anything from a £40 to a £1,000 fine for leaving dog-mess behind, why can’t the police be fined for leaving piles of crap that would put ten dogs to shame? An innocent, but admittedly lazy dog-owner can be fined a months wages for forgetting to scoop their dog’s poop, but a police officer on a horse can let the horse shit where it likes: on pavements, roads, cycle paths even! And we should all have a small place in our hearts for the poor cyclist who streaks through horse dung accidentally I tell you now.

It is simply a case of a rule for them and another rule for us – which in my opinion should be abolished right this instant. It may hold up a police patrol, but if they are so worried about our streets being covered in shit that they will fine civilians for a a mug of poo, then they should have to dismount and scoop up what seems to be a pot of crap of our roads. Otherwise they should give themselves a fine somewhere between £1,000 and £5,000 for ‘befouling our streets’. And they are our streets, we pay tax and road maintenance, so befouling the streets is a crime against society.

So, officers, either clean up your animals crap – or stop using horses. One rule for you and another for the rest of us makes a mockery of justice, and as Martin Luther King Jr. famously quoted 1963 : ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Not to mention the frustration of cleaning one’s shoes in the name of justice.

So, enough about this crap (sorry about the pun). The other topic I wish to vent my spleen about is cigarette butts. As a smoker I always, and very conscientiously in my very own opinion, try and pop my butt in an ash-tray or the bins provided. But this is a drop in the ocean, with thousands of fag butts littering our streets, next to little piles of dog-doo and considerably larger piles of horse-dung.

Nowadays, every city has mandatory fines for smokers who drop their butts, as they should. But in some cities (are you listening Edinburgh), they have specific Litter Wardens that patrol the streets and can dish out instant fines for those dropping litter. Of this I approve, anyone, civilian or otherwise should be meted out with a considerable fine for befouling the streets, in context with their mess. How about £1 per fag end, £50 per dog-crap and £100 per horse pat?

Anyway I digress. My main beef against the litter wardens is that they can spend all day without tolling out a single fine. A new level of law-enforcement encourages criminals (used loosely of course) to take their law-breaking to a new level. So if you’re thinking of throwing your fag butt away just take a quick look to see if there’s any litter wardens about.

This means that in some cities in the UK, there are public sector staff getting paid to do absolutely nothing (‘Duh,’ you might say, but I’m not talking about bureaucratic pen-pushers today, just litter wardens). Why not have litter wardens, or police officers on litter duty actively pick up rubbish and fag butts as they go, so that even if they spend a day without handing out a fine ,they can at least earn their respective wages by cleaning our streets up?

In fact, how about scrap litter wardens and mounted police patrols completely. Instead our councils could invest in more bins and ash-trays so that you’re never out of reach of somewhere to throw your rubbish, and maybe instead of investing in mounted police units we should buy them bicycles and save the money on fodder – ‘nough said I think.

1According to the Free Dictionary online: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/rant

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Categories: Comment, Rants Tags: ,
  1. Bax
    August 30, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Not something I’d ever thought to rant about but you make some interesting points. Although what I will add, is that even if there was a bin every 30 yards on every street, alley and highway of Britain do you think chavs (who I’m sure make up a scarily high % of the population) would actually use them? Call me cynical but the problems are a little more deep-rooted. I’ll definitely be reading these as you post them from now on! Hope you are good my man.

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