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Nottingham Railway Station

waiting room;

what's wrong with it

On a railway journey I had to wait an hour at Nottingham (UK), and I was in the train station waiting room and noticed something odd about it. What was odd was that there was litter and rubbish all strewn about all over the place. Why was this? People who don't know better and drop rubbish about without regard for the feelings of others? Easy to assume that, but NO, it wasn't. The reason why there was so much garbage all about was that there was NO RUBBISH BIN. So, I went to find out why there was no rubbish-bin, because be blowed if I'm going to be degraded in social habit and leave litter about just because of there not being a dustbin provided.

But when I found the reason why there was no trash can I found it even more disturbing and annoying! There are no litter bins because of TERRORISM. The idea is, if there are any refuse disposal canisters, then terrorists will use them to hide BOMBS. So, there are no waste facilities, and we the public are expected to leave litter about.

Well, let's think about this. Terrorists, regardless of what you think of their motives, aren't stupid. It wouldn't take much gumption to figure out how to hang a bomb off the back of one of the seats (don't tell them that - they'll ban seats too!), or to bring along a mop bucket with a bomb in it, disguised as an item waiting for the cleaner to come back. Or what about cunningly hiding the bomb under some of the rubbish that's lying about on the floor? Etc.

So, who's made the decision to have no wastebins in the waiting room? Not the station manager? No, it's the GOVERNMENT. The government has decided that to combat terrorism we're going to have no wastepaper-baskets. And, if some fool phones up and claims to have put a bomb on the station, it is to be EVACUATED! So, looking back at history,  [Keep Calm and Carry On] what did we do in the Second World War about bombs? Evacuate the entire country? NO! We carried on life anyway and refused to look intimidated. Keep Calm and Carry On. See the Imperial War Museum Shop for appropriate memorabilia.

So now let's see who's winning? Terrorists, obviously, as the government has given in to them. By allowing the quality of life to be diminished by them it has become a sucker to the terrorist cause. I'm sure they must be feeling really pleased at the trouble they've caused. Not merely to inconvenience people in their lives, but to actually diminish standards of life. What point is there in teaching children not to drop litter, when the government has made it law that litter MUST be dropped.

Revolt is required here. Ignore terrorist threats, and ignore stupid laws too. Terrorists don't have atom bombs to kill us all. If we all ignore threats, how many do you suppose would die? The chance of you being killed by a bomb would be small. It would be better to risk the 10,000 to one chance of being killed by a bomb rather than suffer the humiliation of defeat by allowing social habits to be deteriorated and to admit they are having an effect on society.

What's going on here, by the government, is a KNEE JERK REACTION. It's like - there's been a million to one health problem with the beef, so we'll ban the beef! KNEE JERK REACTION. Perhaps the word "JERK" here is not coincidental.

Now, if you feel cross and think you disagree with me, please make sure you understand what I'm saying! (If you have read this article and have got the wrong end of the stick by believing I'm saying people should drop litter, you've missed the point. Please read the article again!). The article on this page has various assumptions and conclusions, which are:

1. Dropping litter is bad, and goes further than being a nuisance, it being indicative of an antisocial attitude.

2. Education of people is good, preferably at an early age, so they understand why dropping litter is bad.

3. Erosion of the no-littering belief in society is of concern, particularly when it is being done by public authorities, so is institutionalised degradation of the "keep the place tidy" principle.

4. If terrorists are allowed to trigger the erosion of social principles, they have won, and in more insidious ways that if they'd just scared a few people. Let's not let them get away with it!

News: (2003/01) Someone has pointed out that other stations on the same railway route have actually got dustbins. So, it's shifting the rubbish along the line! This means that the actual problem of no rubbish bins at Nottingham Railway Station might not be a centralised Big Brother kind of problem, so much as a localised bad "decision". Or, it might even have been a bureaucratic misunderstanding, as someone in the railway company might have sent a memo containing a phrase such as "AT NOTTINGHAM WE SHALL HAVE NO BIN LADEN WITH TOO MUCH RUBBISH", and then the people obeying the orders went a bit over-the-top about it!

2004/04: We have some news on this from a helpful contributor with some knowledge of the goings-on at Nottingham Railway Station. Apparently the no-bins policy is common to many busy railway stations in the UK, and the decision regarding whether or not a station has bins is determined by the number of passengers passing through. That is, a quieter station (eg Beeston, Long Eaton) is a less attractive target for terrorists as the potential for casualties and disruption and terror is much less. So, this explains the "other stations along the line have got dustbins" point. Plus, although some have stations adopted the use of clear binliners, Nottingham Railway Station is kept as safe and clean as is reasonably possible by cleaners constantly patrolling and hourly security checks. However, our contributor adds: "No matter how often the cleaners go round rubbish will always gather in the gaps between their patrols. As you state, it is government rules that dictate this approach. We all do our best to keep the station tidy, all whilst dispatching trains and helping customers, and if we can't clean something up we radio the cleaners to do so. It does at times feel like painting the Forth Bridge - no sooner has one part been cleaned than another needs it - but I feel that we keep pretty well on top of things. We ignore terrorists at our peril, as railway stations are favourite targets. Recent events have shown this once again to be the case. But at the same time we are determined not to let them prevent us living our daily lives. The way we operate with regards to tidiness reflects, in my opinion, a pragmatic solution to the threat with minimal impact on our routine".

Well, can't say fairer than that! The people who look after Nottingham Railway Station are doing their best. It's not their fault, the people at the local level trying to get it right. The main problem is the government making daft rules which seemed ok on a plan at a distance but were illconceived and ended up being counterproductive in implementation.

Further points: Yes, of course people should take their litter home with them! But how far is that? It could be hundreds of miles. Also, if this principle is extended so railway stations stop having toilets too, what will we then be expected to take home with us? How big a bag will that require?!

For another railway station related anecdote, see Scarborough Railway Station

Also see Railway Stations and Rail Travel

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More about antiterrorist nonsense here