One nasty side effect of the recent flooding has been the proliferation of litter that is now on the tide marks of the flood water. Where I stay this is particularly true and the majority of litter is plastic bottles. 

Yes, somebody was too bloody lazy to throw their litter into a bin or take it home to dispose of it. Makes you feel proud to be a member of the human race! 

Our town has an active group of volunteer litter pickers that goes around picking up other people’s crap and keeping the streets relatively clean although it is a thankless task and a never ending one too. I occasionally help out but am not a registered picker and don’t really have the bags and place to dispose of the contents in.  This morning I took my handy picker and 2 bags and tried to make a dent on the landscape. I filled 2 black bags with litter, although it was mostly plastic drinks and water bottles. It looks better already!

Before

After

I am not done yet, just after I post this I am meeting up with others who want to tackle the mess. We are going to make a difference, even if it is a drop in the ocean. Unfortunately because of the nature of the floodwater the litter is not really recyclable so it will all end up in a garbage site somewhere. 

Hopefully I will get some pics a bit later today to show what we did. Watch this space and pick up that garbage!! 

Job done…

Before

After

Unfortunately the mess on the other river bank will need to be approached from a different angle and we have not worked that out yet. But things are looking so much better now. 6 bags of litter was collected on the riverbank, and there is probably enough to be found to fill another 3.

Out of interest I worked on a recycling line way back in 2015 and learnt quite a lot while wading through the conveyor belt that rushed past me. A large portion of what went past us was catalogues in plastic bags addressed to somebody that had been thrown away unopened. People throw anything away… from clothing to food, plastic, cardboard, polystyrene, electronic waste and tons of unidentifiable rubbish. We were doing this just after Christmas so we had the additional burden of unwanted gift wrapping and decorations, food packaging, and the normal run of the mill stuff. To help pass the time I used to count clothing items to see how many people I could cloth on a shift from clothing that had been binned;  I seem to remember one evening tallying up enough clothing for 8 people! (including shoes and underwear).  Naturally some things I wanted to save, quite a lot of old family photographs passed along our line and those were sad because one day somebody may ask about them.  They were not mere photographs but often the only tangible reminder of lives that have passed. 

So, having enthralled everybody with my tales from the garbage age I would like to share two photos that I took in Johannesburg in 2012.  

This is the daily slog for many of the informal litter pickers who trudge through the streets in South Africa with their strange cart-traptions, They recycle tins, paper, cardboard and almost anything that has value. White paper is particularly favoured as it does have a high resale value. People like this do not get the full value of their collecting as it is often sold to a middleman at a fraction of the price. As much as they tended to mess up traffic with their huge loads they not only kept our streets cleaner but also performed a very necessary role in the recycling chain.  Where I used to work in Kyalami Business Park there were many cardboard collectors vying for a place in the pecking order, and we employed one to help us clear out our workshop and we even gave him a few days casual work, but his already difficult life was messed up when somebody stole his trolley, forcing him to have to carry his loads by hand, and even at the bottom of society your life can change dramatically overnight. If I had 10 of these guys we could clean this town up in a week, although the odds are 20 more would suddenly appear out of nowhere for such is the nature of poverty and need.  Remember: there but for the grace of God go I.  

Right.. let me grab my goodies and go do my good deed for the day. 

DRW © 2020. Created 14/03/2020