By Calvin at 11:01 GMT, 11 months ago
Each week, after the various bin trucks have gone down the road, I pick up my extra long tongs and bucket and go out the front to pick up all the rubbish they’ve left behind. Unfortunately we still use black bags in Hillingdon and so occasionally animals will rip them open and spill the contents (I find spaghetti to be the most difficult thing to pick up). I go about three doors either side of my house and do the opposite side of the road as well. My black bags don’t get ripped open because we use a waste food bin, which is 100% effective at keeping the animals away. We’re in a tiny minority though, because in my district the use of such bins is voluntary.
To put the entire blame on the bin men for not doing their job properly (and they don’t) isn’t entirely fair though because some of that litter will have been dropped by pedestrians walking along my street (mainly children and young people) and occasionally some moron will decide to empty the contents of their car into the gutter; a place, perhaps, where they too should reside.
You can see then that I regard littering as pretty high up on my hate list and I’m also one of those irritating people that will speak my mind to someone who drops litter in front of me.
So, imagine my delight this morning when I heard about the government’s new anti-littering strategy on BBC Radio London.
I’ve just read it and I must say it’s comprehensive and an interesting read and if you want to read it yourself here’s the link. Litter Strategy for England April 2017.
For those of you who don’t here’s a tiny summary of the main points:
Sending a clear message. We will:
- work with others to run a national anti-litter campaign
- help people to clear up litter in their local areas
- encourage young people to care about their local area
- make sure that schools have what they need to teach about litter
- encourage businesses to work with others to deal with local litter problems
- ask businesses to think about designing their products and packaging in ways which will reduce litter
- look for new ways to encourage more recycling and reducing litter
Cleaning up the country. We will:
- work to reduce litter on the country’s major roads
- make it as easy as possible for people to get rid of their rubbish properly
- work with organisations to make sure they have the right facilities to get rid of litter
- help councils in deciding where bins should be placed, what types to use and how many are needed
- make sure the code of practice for litter and refuse is clear and up to date
- support and encourage people sharing their experience of what works to reduce littering
Improving enforcement. We will:
- ask people if we should increase the fines for dropping litter (and for similar crimes like graffiti and putting up posters illegally)
- give local councils powers to fine vehicle owners if litter is thrown from it
- provide guidance to local authorities on using these powers appropriately
Research tells us that at least 20% of us drop litter, which by my definition means that 20% of people are either too young (or not guided by their parents) to understand the consequences of littering or are older and simply brain-dead when it comes to their consideration for the environment in which they (and us) live.
One of the hundreds of actions that are proposed includes a doubling of the fixed penalty notice fine to £150. Whilst I welcome this increase it is the policing and imposition of the fines that will be equally as important. So if councils spent just ten percent of the effort as they do on targeting motorists for illegal parking then I’m sure this would make a big difference. But is this going to happen?
Maybe we’ll see some new public information films, which have been produced in conjunction with the charity Keep Britain Tidy. Remember these?
- Excuses: Keep Britain Tidy (1987) You Tube
- Don't drop litter – Put it Here (1980s) You Tube
- Don’t be a Gimp: Keep Britain Tidy (2010) You Tube
In the meantime a useful app for you to pop onto your phone is this litter reporting one called ‘Littergram’. It’s free and provides a very quick way for you to report a pile of rubbish to your local authority – who are obliged to take action by the way. Get the app here
I hope you all support this new government strategy and do your bit to help, even if it’s just the tongs and bucket outside your own place.