diamond geezer

 Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tubewatch (29) litter
Charing Cross stationThere used to be litter bins on tube stations, as can be deduced by anybody who visits the Bakerloo line platforms at Charing Cross. A rather splendid black and white mural of the Gunpowder Plotters was installed here 30 years ago, slap bang in the middle of which is a slot for the disposal of litter. Or at least there was. It's far too dangerous to permit such a useful facility today lest some evil passenger insert gelignite rather than an empty Ribena carton through the slot. And so the Ugly Squad have come along and bolted a featureless white rectangle over the hole, simultaneously preventing terrorism and wrecking the artwork underneath. This design aberration perfectly sums up the tube's litterbinlessness - "No you can't have a bin, and who cares how much of a mess is created as a result."

I fully understand why it's a bad thing to have hidden black voids at central London tube stations. But surely it must be possible to design and position an underground litter bin so that it doesn't create an unacceptable threat to world security. A few outer London tube stations are permitted dangling transparent plastic bags - could we have a few more of those further in? Or some sort of newspaper recycling slot on trains (OK, not enough room), or on platforms (OK, too much congestion) or in ticket halls (yes please). Meanwhile TfL's "please take your litter home with you" argument is ignored by all and sundry, as the floor of any tube carriage in the early evening will attest. The introduction of bins within, or even immediately outside, tube stations would surely help Londoners to recycle more, and help to keep our tube network tidier. Who could refuse?

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