Another trip up to the Lake District last week to try and get another couple of walks researched, photographed and written up. Most enjoyable was the climb up to Hampsfell from Grange Over Sands. It’s a sharp, fairly steep climb but once you’re up to the top at the “Hospice” there are some incredible views, not only of the fells but also over Morecambe Bay. You are, after all, pretty much on the coast. It was my first time up there, but would really recommend it – as I would spending time around Grange in some of the splendid shops.
Unbelievably, on my way up to the fell as I walked through the woods I came across a cardboard McDonalds fries packet discarded on the ground. I picked it up, put it in my coat pocket and binned it once back in the town. Heading out of the Lakes on Saturday afternoon, I noticed in at least two lay-bys that the entire packaging of a McDonalds meal had been chucked onto the grass at the side of the road for somebody else to clean up. This despite there actually being a bin there. Ironically, there wasn’t McDonalds for miles around.
Just think about what’s happened here. Somebody’s got Drive Thru miles away, maybe in Barrow or even in Blackpool or Preston. They scoffed their food on the way through the National Park and then, without a care, just thrown the packaging out of the window. Some of it stays near the roadside. Other bits get blown about throughout the landscape. Yes, there are other brands that end up polluting the environment, nobody’s suggesting otherwise. But when a McDonalds parcel is jettisoned on the A591 you get straws, straw wrappers, brown bags, napkins, drinks holders, burger boxes, fries bags, sauce containers and who knows what else. It’s a cluster-bomb of litter, primed to contaminate a wide area on impact.
I’m not anti-McDonalds. Far from it, I occasionally eat there and get Drive-Thru. Actually, I’m getting fairly hungry writing this. Yes, McDonalds could cut down on their packaging and encourage better disposal, but at the end of the day it’s not MacDonalds who have driven into the Lake District and spewed their litter out into a protected area. No, the bigger problem here are the folk who don’t seem to realise that there is a world beyond the confines of their car, the type of people who just expect their rubbish to be collected, individuals who do not care for the surrounding environment.
I am sick and tired of driving to beautiful places in the Peak District and in the Lake District and seeing the side of main roads splattered with the remains of a MacDonalds meal. It’s not everywhere, it’s not all the time. But it is frequent enough for it to be noticable. It’s the vehicular equivelent of letting your dog foul the footpath. That’s not acceptable and neither is discharging your Quarter Pounder Meal packaging out of your window.