Skip Navigation

Litter is bad for our health

47 days to go

In ’51 days to go’ I talked about the benefits of scenic views.  I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the country and spend a bit of time hiking and running around the Lake District fells.  The photos I take show beautiful unspoiled landscapes. But here’s the thing, they will only continue to look like this if we all follow the principle of ‘leave nothing other than footsteps and take nothing but photographs’.

A lot of visitors come to spend time in the Lake District each year, it’s now close on 20 million and most come to enjoy the scenery and the peace and quiet. However, some visitors don’t seem to care that others might come after them and leave litter wherever they go.  The popular mountains such as Scafell and Helvellyn are sadly regularly found with drinks bottles and cans, sandwich wrappers, crisp and sweet wrappers, banana skins and fruit peel. It’s not just the most popular places nor is it just smaller items of litter.  There are groups of campers who walk into places with tents, sleeping bags and large shopping bags of food and drink. For some reason, despite carrying it a considerable distance from their vehicles to their chosen beauty spot campsite, they don’t seem to be able to carry it out again after their visit.  They also light fires where they are not permitted and have even been known to fell trees.

Many of us regular walkers collect litter as we go. Just today coming off Helvellyn a young puppy who was with us happened on a discarded can of cider at the side of the path, knocked it over and was lapping up the dregs that had been left in it. Today’s spontaneous litter-pick wasn’t too bad, the cider can, a few sweet wrappers and plastic bottle caps.  Some of my friends collect multiple bags of rubbish, especially from the more remote car parks. On occasion, volunteer work parties come together to clear campsites. Six of us spent a whole day clearing one particular remote campsite where everything had been left….tents, sleeping bags, camping chairs and the debris from a bank holiday weekend’s revelling.

Litter spoils countryside and neighbourhoods and it’s damaging for wildlife and domestic animals.  It also costs time and money to remove and to repair damaged areas.

So please, we can all do our bit not just for the countryside areas we visit but also in our own neighbourhoods.  Take all your litter home with you and if someone else has left something, please try and take it away with you too*.  It may not seem a particularly pleasant activity to remove other people’s trash but if people see you picking up litter that may encourage them to do the same and not to leave their own behind. You’ll be doing a good deed for those who come after you and for the wildlife as well as contributing to maintaining those scenic views so important for our wellbeing. And doing a good deed always makes us feel good.

* I carry an empty plastic bag with me in my rucksack for this very purpose.





The end goal is a bonus - it's the journey that changes us