They recently issued an appeal, attaching leaflets to trees in the park and to the railings of a little bridge, encouraging passers-by to join them and support the cause: cleanliness is next to godliness, the saying goes, and clearing things up can be fun, while strengthening group identity at the same time. I don't know how successful the campaign was. But whenever the group, that drank tea and shared homemade cookies during the breaks, has been in action, everything looks really clean and tidy afterwards. No more litter is to be seen anywhere on the streets, on the pavements and in the parks. Unfortunately, it only takes a few days for the situation to take a turn for the worse; then there is litter everywhere again, with opened food and consumer goods packaging, bags, bottles, cans, some of them made of glass, others made of paper and board, some of them coated with film, many of them made of plastic – and all of them thoughtlessly dropped on the ground. Some litter can be traced to the school neighbourhood. I wonder if they have lessons about waste avoidance, environmental protection and sustainability at schools nowadays?
Since the corona pandemic began, there has been a slight change in street litter. As far as I can remember, changes tend to happen less all of a sudden and more as a gradual process. It has been different this time. More and more examples of two new kinds of disposable packaging materials have started turning up alongside the sweet, chocolate bar, crisp, bread and roll packaging: rubber gloves and face masks. Many of these gloves are now to be seen lying on the ground, looking a bit like the victims of accidents with strangely twisted fingers. The people who had been wearing them seem to have had little experience in taking rubber gloves off properly and certainly didn't know how to dispose of them correctly. They in particular lacked the ability to avoid contamination with the virus that the gloves were being worn to prevent contact with. Because it adheres to the outside of the gloves and is transferred to the wearer in its entirety unless one is careful when removing them. In the meantime, gloves can be seen lying around everywhere, outside the entrance to supermarkets, while I noticed a whole pile of them in a shopping cart left on a parking lot. Thoroughly disgusting! They are in the gutter, on electricity junction boxes, in the hedge of the neighbour to the left, on the grass in the front garden of the neighbour to the right, in the bushes at the bus stop, between the bicycle stands at the train station, in the fence of the children's playground, in trees and bushes by the side of the road. Rubber gloves – and, more recently, face masks too – can be found everywhere. It doesn't bear thinking what bacteria are crawling all over them after they have collected and multiplied in sweaty hands and breath moisture. And: how effective are these devices, that are supposed to stop the virus spreading, really?