Punitive fines for litter louts

I joined the forum o make my voice heard on plastic packaging. Like most people who have commented I believe there should be better legislation covering single use plastic. I would go further and suggest that where plastic can be substituted by a natural alternative it should be. However the other side of the same coin is the selfish and thoughtless way people dispose of it. Living in a rural area I’m appalled by the amount of plastic, and other items, that people casually discard. Most of it must be thrown from car windows. We need a concerted campaign of public education to manage this behaviour and punitive fines to punish those that don’t comply.

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The problem is that you can’t easily catch people throwing these things, especially in the countryside. I grew up in a rural area and picked up bags and bags full of discarded plastic. It’s appalling how much there is. More effective than fines—which you can’t enforce if you don’t know who’s doing it—would be a packaging deposit scheme where you pay a little extra for the bottle and get that back only when it’s returned.

Also more volunteer community clean-up schemes would be good: if many people are known to be picking the litter up it would hopefully make it seem less acceptable to litter.

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I do agree, but as the other comment it would be difficult to enforce especially as there is no way of cathcing the offenders. I do a lot of travelling and in some countries there is a really hefty fine for littering and quite a lot of signs along the road indicating this. Funily enough there is virtually no litter at all. I am sorry to say but I think people in this country don’t really give a damn about where they throw there litter or fly tip as they know someone else will clean it up. There is very little respect by these people for other peoples property or land.

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I agree with both comments. Education is a slow process that’s why fines would reinforce the message. It is difficult to catch people in rural areas but I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube of people caught in the act of fly tipping and being made to pick up their rubbish by others who are recording the incident. The campaign should start in city centres. As a nation we are so selfish that only draconian measures will shock people into taking action. Deposits on bottles, and other types of packaging, is a must.

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Yes, agreed, definitely

Fines for littering are a must

How about a site for public to post evidence of littering (when it’s witnessed) so local councils can fine / prosecute

If we incentivise the return of plastic (by recycling centres that are UK based) then even if people do litter, there will be a benefit in people going out and collecting any discarded plastic and glass. It will make an industry out of picking up rubbish and recycling!

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I don’t disagree with the logic but why should we accept people just littering hoping that someone will be so desperate for money that they have to pick it up. It needs to be stopped at source with a zero tolerance policy.

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I totally agree @PhilEmsley. I spend a lot of time on the canals, and recently got a mailing from Canal and River Trust trying to encourage visitors to pick up others’ rubbish:

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/features/plastic-and-litter-in-our-canals?utm_source=Regular_Marketing_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MKTG_Newsletter_65

A few things struck me about this. First of all, why is it the visitors’ job to do this? Secondly, how does that prevent the litter louts reoffending and adding to the problem, if they know others will clean up after them? Thirdly, how safe is it for untrained members of the public to pick up litter of unknown origin?

Whilst everyone doing a bit may have desirable outcomes in deterring littering in future, it does not drive the message home to those who made the mess in the first place. I agree that proving who did it is a problem if you can’t catch them in the act, but the threat of large fines at problem areas may discourage some people. Perhaps the threat of CCTV should be used - make things that look like cameras out of recycled plastic and display them in known trouble spots, which might also deter even if the cameras don’t actually function!

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Absolutely, I would prefer people didn’t litter at all. But they do.
So incentivising the return of recyclable materials means that people are less likely to just throw them away and, if they do, someone will have an interest in collecting it.
In an ideal world, this wouldn’t be necessary, but obviously it is.
And we do currently have a zero tolerance policy, the fines for fly tipping and even littering are quite high, but people still do it because we don’t have the resources to enforce this.