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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 3 (June 1, 1939)

The Litter Nuisance

The Litter Nuisance.

The lead which the Railway Department has given in an endeavour to overcome the nuisance caused by the indiscriminate throwing of litter from railway carriages is one that might well be followed generally (says the “Evening Post,” Wellington). Although New Zealanders are probably no worse than the people of many other countries, the fact remains that they are far too careless in disposing of litter, and the result is that streets, parks, and other public places have an appearance of untidiness. Some local bodies may be held partly culpable in not providing sufficient rubbish receptacles and in not keeping streets and other public places clear of litter, but the real solution of the difficulty lies with the public. If people would stop to think before disposing of rubbish there would be no nuisance. It is really all a matter of education. The Railway Department has made a start and if the example is followed by local bodies and other authorities a general improvement should be the result. The average person is not naturally untidy, and if the standards that apply in the average home were applied outside the home the litter nuisance would be greatly minimised. A distinguished visitor to New Zealand once described New Zealand as “a slovenly democracy.” He was referring to political methods, but a similar allegation might lie on other grounds. The best way to avoid such charges in the future is to remove the cause.