'You might get your head kicked in' - Kiwis reluctant to call out litterbugs




Pedestrians and beachgoers in New Zealand don't pick up litter dropped by others because it could be contaminated, and they don't castigate litter droppers because "you might get your head smashed in", or they lack confidence to speak up.

Those were the explanations from people Seven Sharp spoke to as part of a social experiment to see if people would pick up litter dropped by a fake litterbug the programme enlisted.

Seven Sharp put people to the test in Auckland as to how they react when see a litterbug.
Source: Seven Sharp

Scotty dropped bottles, notes and food wrappers on a footpath and a beach.

He got plenty of mean looks from witnesses who described the litter dropping as "disgraceful" and "disgusting", one saying people should be fined for that.

But when it came to taking action, only two out of 12 passers-by picked up Scotty's litter on the street, while on the beach the result was a slightly better three out of 15 who picked up.

"Don't say things these days 'cause you might get your head smashed in," said one man after Scotty dropped litter on the footpath.   

A woman at the scene said: "I don't always feel confident to tell people."    

On the beach, a couple got fired up, one man calling out to Scotty to "pick it up", while another told the litterbug, "Don't be such an arsehole!"

Another man on the beach said he didn't pick up the dropped litter, "cause it looked a bit dirty" while another said, "it could be contaminated in some way". 

An American tourist who did pick up on the beach couldn't believe the lack of action.

"And this is still your Earth is it not? Do you not still live here?" she said.

"I don't know if that's just lazy or you don't care. This is the only Earth you've got, you're not getting another one. It's on your Earth, pick it up." 

Fake litterbug Scotty couldn't agree more.

"If you're at the beach and you do see litter, pick it up. Don't leave for someone else. Be proud of what we have and let's just keep our beaches and New Zealand beautiful," he said. 

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