A recent bus journey in Nottingham brought home to me the staggering scale of the litter problem across the City and County which has, in my view, now reached epidemic proportions.
We are not alone in facing this problem however, as this blight on our landscape, whether in urban or rural areas, is evident throughout the Country.
In August last year I wrote an opinion piece for the Gedling Eye in which I expressed some frustration with and criticism of Gedling Borough Council for failing to respond to my request for information about how the Council would support local residents volunteering to collect litter from the area in which they live. To be clear, this criticism was not aimed at the hard working members of their Parks and Street Care team who face an up-hill and never ending battle to remove rubbish from our streets.
Following publication of this article I was contacted by Councillor Michael Payne, the Deputy Leader of the Council, who apologised for their failure to contact me. Councillor Payne also spoke about his personal and the Borough Council’s commitment to keeping our streets and parks as clean as possible. He also confirmed that Borough Council officers were willing to work closely with community volunteers to support their much appreciated efforts to assist in keeping the borough clean and tidy.
The Borough Council’s Park and Street Care supervisor then contacted me and he could not have been more helpful. He provided me with reflective Jackets, litter pickers and bin bags and agreed that he would arrange for any litter I picked-up to be collected.
The reality is that we cannot simply sit back and expect that the Borough Council will be able to collect all of the rubbish that is deposited onto our streets and parks.
Since then I have filled 36 bin bags with litter from the Willow Lane / Jessops Lane/ Willow Park area of Gedling and all of these bags have been collected by the Council. This has transformed the tidiness of our area, but does require an ongoing effort to keep it litter free.
The reality is that we cannot simply sit back and expect that the Borough Council will be able to collect all of the rubbish that is deposited onto our streets and parks. Given their limited resources and the sheer scale of the problem this would be an impossible task for them however, based upon my experience, local communities can significantly benefit from volunteers who are willing to work in partnership with the Borough Council to improve the areas in which they live. This type of partnership offers great opportunities and, I believe, is a positive way forward.
Of course this effort and cost would not be necessary if it wasn’t for those who care nothing for the places in which they live or visit and continue to deliberately discard their rubbish in our streets and parks however, we cannot simply leave the litter where it is and choose to ignore it or hope that someone else does something about it. Now is a time for action!
The national Great British Spring Clean 2019 initiative is due to run between 22nd March and 23rd April 2019, which encourages individuals/ groups to work in partnership with community organisations, businesses and the government to collect and safely dispose of single-use plastic.
Whether you wish to support this national initiative or simply volunteer in your local area, there has never been a better time or a more pressing need to get involved and to make a difference. Are you willing to help?
- Philip Oddie is a local campaigner and also a member of the Willow Farm Action Group