I hate litter. In India I refused to chuck used bags out of the train window like everyone else. Instead, I'd make my life miserable by stuffing them in my pockets and waiting to find a proper bin. Sometimes, that took a while, but you know, I like to set a good example.
So why am I so annoyed by this article in our Stadsdeelkrant (local council newspaper) urging us to go out into the streets on October 4th, join forces with our fellow local citizens and tidy up the litter in our area?
Firstly because I already pay for this service. As part of our local council tax bill, Debs and I pay exactly €332.28 a year (the most expensive in the whole of Amsterdam) to have our rubbish dealt with and the streets swept by a dedicated and enormous team of refuse workers or whatever dustmen are called nowadays.
Seriously, there are thousands of them in Amsterdam. I've never seen so many - not even in Paris, a city with even more dogshit on the streets than here. There's even a Milieupolitie who cruise around in cage-backed trucks waiting to imprison fly-tippers and putting stickers on terminally ill bikes threatening to euthanase them.
I think they do a good job. Actually, they do a great job - Amsterdam is one of the neatest and tidiest cities I've been to. But back to the point...
I'm basically annoyed because I hate litterbugs. They're the problem, and I'm buggered if I'm going to spend my time picking up after these lazy, shiftless little snots.
Apparently, I'm just a selfish git though. The council ran a similar "successful" campaign back in March where "dozens" (although this picture only shows about 10, of which 2 are kids) of locals happily wandered around cleaning up after messy eurochavs.
Some people don't even need a campaign like this as an excuse. Our nice neighbour across the street is always out on the pavement sweeping up stray bits of paper and fluff. It's like housepride taken to extremes... endless, thankless extremes.
So er... short of arming the Milieupolitie, my solution to this problem is to power up my usual muttered diss to littering to a properly Dutch, top-of-my-voice shaming of the mucky pups.