Unless you grew up in the UK in the 1970s, chances are you won't have the faintest clue what a Womble is. Let me enlighten you...
A Womble is a fictional bear-like creature, about 1.5m tall that live in burrows on Wimbledon Common in London. They're herbivores that have a particular liking for mushrooms. They try to avoid humans for fear of A Great Womble Hunt and spend their days picking up all the rubbish that everyday folk leave behind, and now they're in Hong Kong in the form of Iain Finch.
After a pretty serious illness put Iain in hospital in May this year, he began to hike in the Lantau hills behind his Shep Mun Kap home, gaining strength and getting himself on a literal path to recovery. These walks have since morphed into litter picking missions, with Iain often collecting full bin bags of plastic bottles and other rubbish carelessly dropped by thoughtless hikers.
Iain calls these hikes 'wombles', and he wants you to womble too. More and more studies are being conducted into neighbourhood walking and longevity of life and the results are all positive. Long story short, getting out, picking rubbish and meeting your neighbours can help you to not only feel more connected to society, but actually make you live longer. There are some precautions to be taken if you want to womble:
Don't womble in towns or villages as there are government assigned cleaners that look after that. We don't want to start a litter-cum-recyclables turf war.
Don't wander off the paths - snakes adore Wombles!
Dont pick up the rubbish by hand; it could be contaminated: Get yourself a 'picking stick' from a local hardware or retail store (About $30).
Wear protective gloves if you feel the need.
Carry plenty of water and a fully charged phone in case of emergencies.
Dispose of your collection responsibly at local waste or recycling stations. Please don't leave it in or beside (overflowing) local waste bins.
Enjoy your wombling, you're doing good for the environment, your community and yourself by keeping fit!
Iain's plan is to organise a group womble once a month in the cooler weather. If you're interested in wombling, join the Facebook group and don't forget to post a picture of your own wombling activity!
Wombling is an intentionally unfunded social movement and one that benefits not just the environment, but the community and your very own mental health so grab a 'picker' and a bin bag and get wombling. #Wombling #Wombles #LantauWombles #GoGreen #Recycle #Dontlitter #islanderHK #socialmovement