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What, apart from the fish, swims in the oceans?

In a movement away from the usual here (and the day that’s in it!) I’m going green, marine green.

The http://www.oceanconservancy.org website is well worth a visit. Our ocean life on this planet is teaming with life in all its beauty. But unless we look after it that beauty is not going to survive.

But all is not lost. On a single day in September each year since 1989 (1986 in the US) the world witnesses the largest volunteer effort of its kind.  The “international Coastal Cleanup” from September 2008 witnessed almost 400,000 volunteers at 6,485 sites in 104 countries and 42 U.S. states picked up litter and rubbish along the world’s oceans and waterways.  This included 10,606 divers and onboard watercraft by 1,236 boaters.

The stats for Ireland are sobering.  I don’t know how many volunteers there were or how extensively our waterways were cleared.  Nonetheless, given that this particular day did not garner a huge amount of publicity the figures are indicator that we have a problem.

· 8891 items of shoreline litter (e.g. cans, bottles, plastic bags, etc)

· 819 water recreation items (fishing lines, nets, buoys, floats, etc)

· 415 smoking related litter (e.g. cigarette lighters, filters, tips, wrapping, etc)

· 171 deliberately dumped larger items (e.g. fridges, washing machines, cars, car parts, etc)

· 46 medical / personal items (e.g. syringes, medicine bottles, etc)

The problem is a one day a year effort is not enough.  Litter bugs are a problem all year around. Litter to be disposed of improperly is a continuous problem. Repak tells us that this Easter weekend we will produce 42,000 tonnes of waste over and above the normal weekend waste. Marketers emphasise the marketing value of packaging but is it really just a litter problem?

Being tougher on the litter louts and stopping the problem at source would help a lot. Litter fines exist but are they enforced?  The “Green” party seems to have bigger problems to occupy themselves!

On the subject of politics there are parallels with the recessions-buster activities our Government want to implement. The honest hard-working citizen spends time and effort picks up the debris caused by the perpetrators of the crime!.

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Litterbugs

My main themes in this blog are technology and / or education. Today, I’m going to veer away from those a little.

There are 2 things that strike me when I come back to dear old Ireland after being abroad. The first is the road signs and posters etc in Irish – a nice ah! feeling. The other is the abundance of litter everywhere – a horrible agh! feeling.

I feel particularly strongly about the litter problem in this country. I used to tell people off if I saw them littering. An incident while strolling by the canal put the “used” in the last sentence. A group of male teens deliberately smashed a glass bottle on the footpath and nonchalantly walked off. I did my “hey….”. I was told to do some rather rude things with myself. There were several of them and only one of me. For the sake of my safety I scarpered.

Today, while enjoying a coffee in a street-side coffee shop in Dublin, is a whole other story.

A city council worker passes by with his broom and cart sweeping the debris on the footpath. As he passes the window and door I wonder if he’s being paid properly for his efforts. My attention is caught by a young man git stopping outside the door. Young git eyed street sweeper, then proceeded to take cig butt from his lips and throw it on the ground right where it has just been swept!  He came into the coffee shop whereupon I did my “hey…”. As soon as he realises what I’m saying to him I get a filthy look and was told to eff off.

Marvelous!

The fact that there was a litter bin within lobbing distance is a whole other post.

Strange that he was happy to put his cigarette out before he came indoors yet was despicable enough to dispose of it so disgracefully – double standards indeed!