Thursday, December 11, 2008

What London really lacks

Pret+sandwich+litter+londonAfter a weekend of drizzles and two days of 'fine cold weather' (as BBC so aptly termed), the sun finally crept out during lunch hour - a rarity these days.

Seduced by the prospect of sunny weather even though it's 5 deg C in the open (I was really desperate), I popped by my favorite Pret outlet, got myself a herbal chicken sandwich and ventured out into the cold, determined to make the most of the 'fine weather'.

Just 15 minutes stumbling aroung in the open, having gobbled up my sandwich, I realized that I've left my gloves in the office. Bad mistake. With the now empty Pret packaging clutched in my hands, I went around St. Katharine dock hunting for a litter bin. With me gradually losing sensation of my fingers by the second, Murphy's Law once again rules the day - there was not a single litter bin to be found.

Back in Singapore, there were talks about how clean the city state is with its greenery and all. The truth is that it is largely made possible by having litter bins at every corner of the street supported by an army of street cleaners.
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Read also...
St. Katharine's Dock - a haven in hectic London

Singapore... litter free?
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Over here in London, one can hardly find a bin around especially so in tourists spots. Mathematically, I'm sure London would beat Singapore hands down in the cleanliness department considering the bins to population ratio.

Darn the idiots who decided to plant explosives in litter bins back then. Doing so literally condemned the rest of us to having to hang on to our litter while desperately looking for a bin.

Some of us even spent their entire lunch hour looking for somewhere to chuck their Pret sandwich packaging.

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14 comments:

Eaststopper said...

well I usually leave my garbage in the Tube...
Try finding a litter bin in the airport - it's worst than finding a needle in a haystack!

Cashmere said...

Haha! I actually had the same problem in Tokyo! And the streets look so clean!

I think it's just that we got used to seeing a bin in every few metres and corners along the road here in Singapore.. ;P

Martin in Bulgaria said...

It's different here in Bulgaria, lots of bins around the towm, but rubbish still thrown in the street. At home inthe vilage, we have no bins and no rubbish collection. We have to walk one kilometre, uphill with our rubbish in a wheelbarrow to a designated muddy field and throw there. That is after we have fed the pigs, chickens and dogs on the food waste and put aside all ignitable rubbish in the woodburner.

C K said...

@Eaststopper,
Now I know who left that half eaten slice of pizza on the Tube seat...
I was under the impression that its easier to find a bin in Paris, no?


@Cashmere,
You can say that again. But I recall seeing those transparent plastic litter bags in Tokyo. Are they still there?

Then again, I guess it does provide some jobs for some people back home. I remembered staring at some teenagers (in S'pore) when they just drop their litter on the ground when a bin was just 10m away. I wouldn't even think about doing that in London... for obvious reasons.


@Martin,
I think that's the thing about community (shared) property. We just don't care for it as much as something we regard as our own, if you know what I mean.

But then again, you should see the mess in my place... :p

SheR. said...

I think the biggest problem is the lack of public toilets!
I recalled how many times I needed to answer nature's call in London but was forced to hunt down the nearest Mac's. Some outlets require you to pay for it. Others require you to be a paying customer. My god. You should see how fast I gobbled down my pack of fries!!!

Dutchie said...

Haha Sher, how true ! Wondered if it's bec we r from the tropics n the cool weather seemed to overstimulate our bladders ? I also go by way of either buying a McD meal or a cup of coffee in the Pub for that purpose .. sigh ..

CK, with the cold now, it's sniffels when I go outdoors. I carry little disposal plastic bags for my used tissues in case a bin is not within reach when I needed one.

Tell u a joke - when I saw ur food carton, I thought u were thinking of making it into a Bonaparte hat to shield u from the drizzle - haha ! Goes to show - never jumped to conclusion until someone has spoken their minds, eh ?

*lynne* said...

believe it or not, in KL there are loads of public rubbish bins, but so many people just don't bother using them :( The litter problem is terrible.

[p/s - thanks for the link!]

A. said...

You know why there are few litter bins? The IRA used to use them for placing bombs....

Dwacon® said...

Herbal chicken? What is that?

My Bug Life said...

I agree, people over here litter everywhere even though bins are provided.

C K said...

@SheR,
Really? I didn't know that some MacD outlets actually require you to pay... for the very same reason, the BK outlet over at Leicester Square is my favorite branch. :)

After a couple of weeks here in London, I've learnt to reduce my water intake. The less goes in, the less is released. Not exactly a healthy thing to do but hey, that's the way it is.


@Dutchie,
HAHA... that is an idea - Bonaparte hat. Looking at the number of costume party in London now, I don't think people would even bat an eyelid when they see a guy stumbling around with a Pret sandwich wrapping on his head.

Ah... I love this place.


@lynne,
Hey, you're more than welcome. Great blog there by the way. Love the way different perspectives (as an expat) are shown in the posts.

At the end of the day, the littering problem really boils down to both enforcement and education, isn't it?


@A.
Heard from my colleagues about that. But now that there's no more problem from the IRA, would we see more bins around? Don't think so... especially after the attacks on Mumbai.

Guess we have to stick to our litter for the time being.


@Dwacon,
It's one of the variety that Pret introduced. Taste better than it looks. If only they heat it up beforehand.


@My Bug Life,
As mentioned in my reply to Lynne, is that the case of lack of enforcement or education?

What do you think?

Robyn said...

I just came back from a trip to Mexico where there were garbage cans (or litter bins as you call them) literally every 20 feet on our resort, and you couldn't walk 10 minutes without passing many clean-up crews. It was quite amazing, really. It was difficult leaving that kind of dream-like cleanliness and come back to trash-strewn Vancouver.

Robyn said...

... and what's even weirder is that tourists who come to Vancouver often comment on how clean the city is. I often wonder where they're looking!

C K said...

@Robyn,
I'm sure the Mexicans would have the same thing to say about your assessment of cleanliness in Mexico. :)

In order to standardize the comparison, would you say that the main tourist spots in Mexico (not sure which city you visited) is cleaner as compared to that in Vancouver?