Community SpiritLocal IssuesPeople

Is it time for a Litter Patrol in your area?

A local resident writes

A couple of years ago, I was walking along a footpath near to where I live. A woman passed me and commented:
‘Look at all this litter, the council never clear this path!’
This must have had a profound effect on me. I thought, how on earth are the council going to clear litter from every footpath to the satisfaction of residents like her. Surely a better way would be for all us ‘good citizens’ to pick up litter at any opportunity. This was something that I was already in a habit of doing; but not in a structured way.
Four years on and the footpath in question is probably the tidiest in the borough. The solution required four things: a bucket, a litter picker, ten minutes of time, and six like-minded neighbours.
I decided on a circular route from my house that takes about ten minutes to walk. I purchased a litter picker for less than a fiver and allocated Friday as my day of the week. The other six in the group were allocated a day each.
On every possible Friday from then on, I have walked the route and cleared it of litter. Admittedly, not all the original six neighbours have been so dedicated; but in principle, no item of litter should remain in situ for more than a day.
This regular routine has made a visible improvement to the area. Other residents notice this and comment on it. I have got to know some of them. People see what I am doing and thank me, others offer to help, and a few just stare and look bemused!
With minimal effort, the area around my home is virtually litter free.
I have also learnt a few things as I go about my ‘litter patrol’:
• Postmen always drop their elastic bands in the same place
• People rarely finish their canned drink before chucking it away.
• Chekov Vodka is very popular.
• The person that lives on the corner smokes Marlboro lights.
• Dog shit placed in a bag but then left in a hedge is not a good idea.
• People who buy McDonalds rarely take their litter home.
• Glueing a mobile phone to the pavement is very funny.
•  10% of residents do not understand the concept of the Wheelie Bin
Our environment could be so much better if either this idea could be replicated or the offenders change their habits; whichever is the sooner.

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