Murphy the dog teaches Scotland a lesson in ethics – leader comment

Bins overflowing with rubbish in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens (Picture: Ian Georgeson)
Bins overflowing with rubbish in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens (Picture: Ian Georgeson)
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If you see litter lying on the street, do you simply walk on by, even if there’s a bin just a few yards away? If you wish to be a responsible citizen, is it enough that you don’t drop litter yourself?

Marion Montgomery’s dog Murphy made this dilemma a bit tougher for her by actively hunting for pieces of rubbish and bringing them to her.

She said it meant that she, like most dog walkers, then felt the need to dispose of the plastic bottles and various other bits of assorted trash responsibly.

After Murphy died in 2015, she carried on the tradition he began with a labrador called Paddy and has now set up a new campaign, Paws on Plastic, to encourage other dog walkers to do the same.

READ MORE: Donald Anderson: Plastic pollution has made litter a ‘sexier’ issue

But, actually, no one needs a dog to pick up litter, it’s something we all could do and, with the growing realisation of how badly the natural world is affected by plastic waste, something we should perhaps do if we can.

But altruistic, public-spirited acts need not be confined just to litter. Small acts of kindness can go a long way to make the world a better place. As Montgomery, quite wonderfully, said: “It’s like dogs have been telling us to do this for years.”

READ MORE: Map reveals hidden litter hot spots on Scotland’s beaches