And Sad

Today, riding with Jim up the back way to May’s Green from Harpsden, we couldn’t get all the way up because someone had dumped an immense pile of rubbish in the middle of the lane. Just that fact is, to me at least, stupefying. Someone had come along, in daylight, and felt it was fine to just dump a huge pile of building waste, household junk, mattresses and whatever else in the middle of a road and then drive off.

I do not understand how to be that selfish and, presumably, greedy as money will be involved somewhere along the line. And this is one of those cases when I don’t actually want to be able to understand.

While we were trying to walk around it a council contractor turned up. Talking to him, he said it had just happened, that he knew who’d done it and the company they worked for, and that the police were after them as we spoke. He said he’d seen the bloke driving around with the load and knew he’d be looking for somewhere to fly-tip it.

The whole episode is just so depressing. I don’t know if it’s sad or what else it might be. Maybe it is sad that someone would want to foul up the countryside for what’s bound to be just a few quid. Maybe it’s sadder still that it’s worth it for someone to do it.

It’s certainly depressing that the chap from the council can know who the culprit is – and that it was going to happen before the event – but that it still can’t be stopped. It seems so little is proactive or preventative.

It hasn’t always been like this. It’s not the case that I’m more aware of it now than I once was. I’ve ridden lanes around towns on and off all my life and the fly-tipping you see now is new. Something systemic has happened to either make it worthwhile to do or just acceptable practice, or both.

Even aside from active fly-tipping, there’s far more litter than there used to be too and there’s enough evidence around that that’s a slippery slope – once a place looks unkempt then people will feel it’s OK to abuse it further.

It is very sad that it’s come to this. I think we all know that it will lead to bigger problems. It’s easy to say that there are bigger problems than this in the world and there are, but that’s to miss the point about the slippery slope that basic neglect of the context in which people live stands atop of.