Litter pickers urge more respect for environment
LITTER bugs in West Swindon are causing a headache for volunteer cleaners in the area, who feel as though they are fighting a losing battle.
Walkways and housing estates around Shaw and Freshbrook, particularly outside the shopping centres, are becoming clogged with discarded food wrappers, while grass and hedgerows are increasingly overgrown and unkempt.
Litter pickers volunteering for the council or in their spare time are becoming frustrated every time they return to an area to find all their hard work undone.
Elizabeth Elstone, 63, of The Prinnels, cleans the neighbourhood almost daily with her husband Eric, and is urging residents to show more consideration for their environment.
“It is about having respect for where you live and respect for other people,” she said.
“My husband and I are volunteer litter pickers for the council.
“We always clear up the walkway going down to Walter Close, which is hal a mile long. We try to clear that on a regular basis.
“It takes us about an hour and a half to clear up, but when we walk down the next day all the litter is back. We are fighting a losing battle. Every day we will fill at least a black bin bag full of rubbish.
“People should be educated not to throw their rubbish on the floor. It is just very frustrating.
“One day it was particularly bad – there were four of us cleaning all day from the Shaw Residents’ Association and we ended up filling six bags full of rubbish.
“We were thinking about putting a notice down there, but because there are not any bins we can’t ask people to put their litter in the bin.”
Kevin Fisher, chairman of the Shaw Resident’s Association, said: “I wanted a new bin put in near me but the council would not fund it. I asked them to install one, which I now empty, so they do not have to pay out for collections and I keep my street clean. It is a win, win.
“I just think attitudes have changed. The more litter there is the more will get dropped. People will tend to respect an area if there is less litter.
“It is a lack of respect and a belief that it is someone else’s problem.
“The truth is that the council cannot afford to pay for litter collections when they have more important priorities.
“The community have to take more ownership, and people who drop litter have to feel a little more guilty about what they are doing.”
Jay Jay Plimmer, 32, of Shaw, said: “There are not enough volunteers – it is getting pretty bad. I go out and do it myself now and again because it won’t get done any other way.
“I just do around near the houses where I live. A lot of the hedges and grass are getting overgrown as well and it just looks awful. It makes it a nasty place to live.”
A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “Our volunteers do a fantastic job keeping our communities clean and tidy and we are open to looking at alternative options in the area.
“One solution could involve obtaining community grant funding for additional bins.
“However, we would ask that if people do have litter and there isn’t a bin nearby that they take it home with them and not drop it outside.”
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