Something that used to always annoy me when I was teaching was the constant and almost overflowing amount of litter the students produced on a daily basis. The bin would be two metres away yet a student would drop their pie wrapper on the ground. I was always angered that someone was employed to pick up after these kids, whether through their laziness or some lame attempt to break the rules. My students would sit and listen in shock as I spoke of my time teaching in Japan, where cleaning time was scheduled into the students’ time table every day and students were not allowed to bring their own food to school. And low and behold, Japan is the tidiest country I’ve been to in the world.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for here in Australia. Litter is everywhere and choking up our environment. So far on this trip we’ve witnessed countless numbers of plastic bottles on the side of the road (including witnessing one person throw his from the passenger window), rubbish at campsites, particularly bottle caps and cigarette butts, toilet paper behind bushes at sites without toileting facilities. Jason and I have taken to picking up rubbish on our walks and at campsites to do our bit for protecting the environment (particularly at beaches, google micro plastics!)
When it comes to rubbish disposal, it seems the mindset of many is it’s someone else’s problem to deal with. It gets collected every week from our properties without question, so surely there is someone going around collecting it everywhere else too? When we arrived at a pretty free site just out of Lorne and saw the two overflowing rubbish bags hung on the fence (see photo above) I was flabbergasted. Then another camper, assuming that was the rubbish disposal site, left their two smaller bags of rubbish there too. Then another camper deposited his two bags of rubbish in an empty space next to the toilets. Surely if there is no designated bin and the site is free, you can make the assumption that you take your rubbish with you. But some people just don’t seem to understand this, they seem to see rubbish collection as a given.
I follow ‘therogueginger’ on Instagram, and if you are interested in minimizing your environmental footprint then you should follow her. She reported in a post recently that Australians produce 6000kgs of waste every 10 minutes! It’s not sustainable by any means.
While the mindfulness for wellbeing industry is booming, I can only hope the mindfulness in waste creation, reduction and disposal movement starts to boom soon too, so beautiful campsites and environments like the one above are not ruined and remain free for everyone to enjoy.