With restrictions on travel still in place, and the current spell of stunning weather, it’s easy to see why a quiet weekend not too far from home would be appealing
When a small band of visitors set up camp on a grassy area alongside Lees Mill Lane, residents who spotted them – reported to be a family with three young children – were more than happy to see people enjoying a relaxing weekend pottering around the River Colne.
Only when the group left did the locals see the devastation wrought by that innocent weekend trip.
Rather than packing away their belongings and disposing of rubbish properly, it seemed they had chosen to leave all their detritus in situ. Not just their empty bottles and food packets, but more or less everything. At least one tent (which they kindly flattened), a groundsheet, waterproofs, a parasol and a blanket. Of course, we can’t forget the barbecue, saucepans, frying pans and other paraphernalia; everything but the kitchen sink!
It’s difficult to imagine what kind of thought process someone goes through to think that this behaviour is acceptable. And of course, it wasn’t just the actions of one person, but a family. That family are teaching their young children that it is okay to leave their rubbish behind for someone else to pick up. And not only is it a black smudge on the natural beauty of the area, but it is also incredibly wasteful. Aside from the bottles and packets, everything else left behind could have been passed on to someone who needed them if they had been looked after and packed away properly.
The presence of a barbecue at all is troubling, as fires are currently prohibited in many areas by order of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, who have imposed a Public Space Protection Order banning the use of barbecues and fires. We don’t need to look too far back into the archives to find out why.
When we were out picking litter with The Great Huddersfield Cleanup, it was clear that some litter is created due to apathy or absent-mindedness; a train ticket or face mask that fell out of a pocket, a cigarette butt thoughtlessly discarded. But it is clear that this act has been carried out by people who just do not care that someone else will have to come along and clean up after them.
Luckily for Linthwaite, the Pride in Linthwaite volunteers were onto it almost as soon as it was discovered, and the area returned to its natural state – albeit with a scorch mark from the campfire, which thankfully didn’t spread.
On a personal note, I find it troubling that this sort of behaviour is becoming the norm. We can’t let that spread any further. Challenge people when they litter. Let them know it is not okay. Young children in particular make excellent messengers when someone ahead of you drops a crisp packet on the floor. How innocent they sound when they rush up to the offender and say, “Excuse me, I think you dropped this!” It is a wonder to behold.
Here’s hoping that the fabulous Linthwaite volunteers aren’t going to have a similar cleanup job after every weekend.