I don't know about you, but I am of the opinion that we should doing a whole lot more to help the environment. It's not always possible to be green on our commute into work, while recycling can at times be a time-consuming affair. But at the very least, we should all try to put our various candy wrappers and McNugget boxes in a trash can, rather than leaving them on the street for pigeons and foxes to fight over.
Littering is a problem that plagues many a big city, and in Singapore for example, the simple act of leaving trash on the floor is worthy of at least a $300 fine for a first offender. But an emerging story from the UK shows that when it comes to food littering, authorities may have a long way to go before the punishment fully fits the crime.
For more, let's head to Manchester in Northwest England, where a 75-year-old man was eating a pork pie somewhere in the city center. While eating his snack, Peter Vipham - a retired shoemaker - dropped a small piece of it on the floor, and when noticed some crumbs on his jacket, he decided to brush them off too.
Apparently, this was a big mistake.
Vipham said that before long, he was approached by two women identifying themselves as law enforcement, and they said that footage of Vipham littering had been filmed. After the senior citizen's request to see the footage fell on deaf ears, Peter Vipham says he was fined £50 ($71.33) for his crumb flickage, a ruling he says he plans to protest.
"If I had dropped litter I would pay the fine, but I never would drop litter. I remember flicking one crumb from my coat but apparently another fell on the floor. I am against litter 100%. I hate it...
"They said they had been videoing us and I had dropped crumbs. They asked for ID and checked it out then said I was being given a £50 fine. They issued me with a ticket and walked away. It was just incredible. I couldn’t believe it. I was treated like a criminal over crumbs."
Bought for just a pound ($1.43) each, Vipham's fine issued to him last Wednesday will reportedly rise to £80 ($114.13) if not paid in 12 days, and his daughter, 46-year-old Vanessa Vipham, labeled the fine "ridiculous", slamming law enforcement for their lack of a "commonsense approach".
"They couldn’t even see the crumbs on the floor. It’s ridiculous. There is no other word for it. They did not give my father the opportunity to watch the video. He’s always been a law abiding citizen, but has been made to feel like a criminal. He’s very upset. He is a pensioner, who does not have a high pension income."
In response to this incident, a spokesman for the Manchester council said that while it clearly wouldn't make sense to "fine somebody for accidentally leaving a few crumbs on the ground", they noted the littering of food could definitely "attract rats and other pests", and as such, it's not yet clear if Peter Vipham's fine will be rescinded."We will review the evidence and contact Mr Vipham to discuss his case further," the spokesperson said.