Monday, September 17, 2007
Never Mind About all those other things, Clear up the Litter First!
Readers of this blog might be aware of my Meldrewish interest in litter. The pictures above are my own and are taken from the roads close to where I live in Stockport. That litter bin is the only one available on a long stretch of road and the condition in which you see it is its virtual default one. So I was delighted to read an article today on litter situation nationwide.
Litter penalties, we note, have increased by a factor of nearly five since 2003-4, up from 7, 565 to 33,033.
Councillor Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Association’s environment board, said: “People in England drop millions of tonnes of litter every year. It costs the council taxpayer more than £600 million a year to clear up this rubbish...Litter dropping is by far the biggest environmental crime councils have to deal with... Councils are using our new powers to get tough on the minority of people who spoil the local area for the rest of the community. Fines and on-the-spot penalties help make sure council tax is kept down and the environment protected.”
We hear councils are likely to increase fines for litter in the near future but I would like to see more emphasis on educating youngsters not to do it in the first place. Much of our local litter is from kids strolling to school munching on chocolate bars and swigging their(no doubt)additive filled drinks from plastic bottles. The result is a town which is far and away the dirtiest I have ever walked around in this country, or indeed anywhere else in the world. It really is shaming to walk around it with visitors.
The council in Stockport have appointed eight young officers to attack the problem in eight areas of the borough but in our district so far, not much difference can be seen, despite penalties having been handed out. I note that a recent ICM residents' poll in Southwark, said that 'cleaning up the streets should be the council's number one priority'. I wouldn't be surprised if Stockport residents, despite its apparently constant 'excellent' ratings from the Audit Commission, felt exactly the same way; I do so hope the issue is beginning to climb the political agenda.
(Ie. address the small things, and it works as a deterrent for the bigger things)
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