When I was a student I applied to the council for a part-time job collecting rubbish from the streets and shore. When I asked about training the council supervisor said: "You'll pick it up as you go along."

And, so I did...plastic bottles, crisp packets, chocolate paper, human detritus and more. To be honest. I think there was just as much rubbish discarded hither and thither over half a century ago as there is today.

In holiday resorts like Largs the problem on the seafront is compounded by the insistence of many daytrippers - locals are more savvy - on feeding the remains of their fish suppers to the mobs of seagulls. Admittedly, sometimes they don't have a choice as the scavengers swoop down to help themselves, as this paper reported last week.

Yes, madam, there used to be a guy who walked around the prom with a fake hawk on a long pole to scare off the gulls, but I reckon he got fed up as the birds weren't daft enough to believe him.

In recent years the introduction of the 'big belly' bins with secure lids has consumed more of the deluge of debris but even they become overwhelmed by the hordes of holidaymakers on Costa del Largs...and Millport.

An acquaintance who was just back from a trip to North Yorkshire towns and villages told me: "There were some things missing. At first I couldn't put my finger on it and then it dawned on me.

There were no steel shutters on shops and in five days I didn't here the 'F' word once! Oh, and as a bonus no dog poo or litter."

He added: "One of the things is acceptable, two is a 'hang on a minute'. More than two and we have some serious social issues in this part of the world." And he meant Largs.

As a frequent visitor to Spain's Costa del Sol I have seen the evidence of that holiday mecca to clean up. Not only do they insist - as we do - that dirty dog owners pick up their pets' poo but they must also carry a bottle of chemical squirt to cover the pee. And just look at the warning signs with a 500-euro fine.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Passed in April, a new law governing the disposal of waste in Spain will come into full effect this year. Restaurants are now required to provide customers with tap water for free in order to reduce waste from plastic water bottles. However, customers are being told that the tap water is not necessarily good because of the amount of chemicals in its process.  Sound familiar?

"You can have tap water, yes, but it tastes really bad," said the server at the restaurant in Benalmadena.

Spain is the fifth-largest producer of single-use bottles in the European Union, according to Greenpeace. And very few of them are recycled. 

So, is it any wonder that Coca Cola is one of the main sponsors of the Cop27 environmental conference? Ironic, huh, but clever PR by the global giant bottle producer.

Surfers Against Sewage in this country have said that of the packaging waste collected on clean-ups across the UK, one-fifth carries the Coca-Cola brand. Never drink it myself, mind you.

Leftover food in Spain must either be donated or processed into animal feed. Restaurant patrons have the right to ask for any uneaten dinners to be packed up to take home.

There is a new fine of up to €2,000 for littering — but, like here,  the police patrol ignores them. A story in a Spanish newspaper reported: "When the teens go home, they leave cigarette butts, beer cans and plastic packaging scattered on the ground."

I wrote recently that I scoff at the idea of our kids saving the planet.  They might paint lovely rainbow pictures in the classroom, but they still leave their rubbish behind them wherever you look in Largs. 

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Perhaps we should adopt a great idea from the Costa del Sol. As the picture shows, they erect large metal fish containers on the beaches for folk to deposit their rubbish.

According to a survey by Keep Britain Tidy (remember them?), social pressure and embarrassment can stop people from littering. We’re not advocating starting a fight over a crisp packet. However, maybe offering a polite "excuse me, I think you’ve dropped something" might make someone think again. I know, it's a thought isn't it.

Speaking of rubbish, I note that this week the House of Commons will close for summer recess with MPs only returning on September 4. But, then, another recess over party conference season will begin a fortnight later on September, 19, with MPs not returning until October 16.

It reminds me of the old joke that I knew a man who stood for election.  When asked what he did, I replied: "Nothing. He got elected."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thought for the Week: Gentlemen, want to make your lady feel special?  Place her picture in the kitchen and write 'Employee of the Month.' She'll love it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am intrigued that the folk in yonder Orkney are considering another 'Brexit' vote to align themselves with Norway, thinking they might get a better deal in the land of Carlsberg, the krone and oil.

If it's good enough for the Orcadians, why don't we try it? Largs Community Council should go on a fact-finding mission to learn about all things Norwegian. After all, we sent them scurrying home after the Battle of Largs of 1263, and we have our long-established Viking Festival and The Pencil monument, not to mention the Viking Chippy.

We could launch a unilateral take-over of the Vikingar! centre as our HQ and collect the tens of millions that we hand over in council tax each year, plus the proceeds of the seafront car park, purloined by the dark forces of North Ayrshire Council. Largs Thistle could sign up stars like Erling Haaland.

We have Councillor Ian Murdoch waiting in the wings to become President, too.

Oh, wait a minute, what's that you say? It costs £12 for a pint of beer over there, and £50 for a bottle of wine in the bars? Some serious negotiation needed, I fear.