20/20 Wanstead vision part VIII

©Geoff Wilkinson©Geoff Wilkinson

This year, the Wanstead Society celebrates its 20th anniversary. In the eighth of a series of articles, Chairman Scott Wilding wants us all to enjoy Wanstead's green spaces and to help keep them tidy.

It's summer. It should be sunny. So what better time to get out and enjoy one of our greatest assets: our parks? But summer also brings out the litterbugs, and we are all too used to seeing overflowing bins and litter strewn across our green spaces. So what can we do?

Take litter home with you
It seems simple and it is. If you live locally and can, just take it home. Stuffing more and more into an overflowing bin doesn't make any sense. We all live in the same place and we all want it to be clean and that means just taking a bit more responsibility. Litter doesn't just appear, it takes a human for that to happen – so let's think before we act.

Less packaging from our shops
Over recent years, high streets have woken up to the price of packaging. By charging just 5p for a plastic bag, consumption has fallen by 80%. What an amazing achievement in just 18 months! But there is still way too much plastic and packaging in everything we buy. It takes thousands of years in some cases for it to degrade and usually just ends up as landfill. We lobby the government to try and reduce unnecessary packaging, but we can also change our shopping habits. Buying fruit and veg from the greengrocer or loose in the supermarkets means less packaging and less packaging means less litter.

Bigger – and more – bins
Back in 2012, the Wanstead Society donated over £1,000 to Redbridge Council for new bins with lids on Christchurch Green. This year, the council has removed dog waste bins and is yet to offer an alternative. Removing a facility and not offering a better alternative is a short-sighted, cost-saving measure that means more rubbish in our green spaces, which leads to more rats and foxes. We all have a part to play, but it's time to get more bins in green spaces to help restrict vermin and also ensure there are the people in place to empty them.

Become a Womble
Once every two months, the Wanstead Society and local residents team up to do a litter pick, starting on George Green. We usually get around 20 people, who give about an hour of their time to scour the locality and collect as much rubbish as possible. It makes a huge difference to the area and to wildlife and means we can make a positive difference. Sadly, there is always more to collect when we return.

If the sun does show up, enjoy the weather, the parks and the picnics – but have a thought for what happens to what you leave behind when you return home.

The Wanstead Society is an independent, non-political organisation that works to protect, preserve and improve the local area. Membership is £10 per household per year. Visit wansteadsociety.org.uk

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