A pick-me-up

Volunteers gather on George Green to begin a morning of litter pickingVolunteers gather on George Green to begin a morning of litter picking

Last year, Dan Slipper launched a series of regular litter picking events in Wanstead. This month, he continues his campaign to keep our streets clean and our spirits high, and invites you to join him.

I want to discuss litter. Next time you go outside your front door, take a look around. Litter is everywhere. I know we have become accustomed to it and Wanstead is much better than other areas in Redbridge, but once you notice the litter, you will realise just how much there is on our streets, on our roads, in our hedgerows and in our green spaces.

Litter is not only a problem in Wanstead. It is a national and global problem. Everyone who watched Blue Planet II will know that around eight million tons of plastic waste enters the oceans every year, where it can prove fatal to marine life.

Did you know that annually the Highways Agency clears more than 180,000 sacks of litter from our motorways and major A roads at a cost to the taxpayer of £10m? According to the charity Keep Britain Tidy, cleaning and tidying our streets, parks and other public spaces costs England about £1 billion a year.

Litter is not just about the discarded glass bottles, straws, plastic bags, takeaway packaging, cotton ear buds and coffee cups that spoil the look of where we live and work and where our children play. It also has a knock-on effect. Research has shown that litter acts as a causal factor in crime, contributes to road accidents, damages cars and bikes, exacerbates refuse and wild fires, encourages vermin, affects house prices and can negatively influence mental wellbeing.

According to a recent House of Commons briefing paper, a report from 2017 found 81% of people have said they are angry and frustrated by the amount of litter in the country. If the research is to be believed, many people in Wanstead are likely to be feeling angry and frustrated about the amount of litter in our local area. But there is no need to feel powerless. There is something you can do.

Last year I launched a bi-monthly litter picking event attended by local residents, community groups and volunteers from Goodgym Redbridge. We meet on a Saturday morning, divide into groups and collect rubbish from some of the worst affected areas, such as George Green, Christchurch Green, Wanstead High Street and Cambridge Park Road. So far in 2018 we have been part of the national Great British Spring Clean and Great Plastic Pick Up campaigns. Our work is really starting to make a difference to the local area.

Our next event is this month and we will once again be tackling areas in need of a good clean-up. The more people who come, the more impact we can have. So, please don't feel powerless about litter. Come and join us!

A Wanstead litter pick will take place on 7 July. Meet by the George Green water fountain at 10am. For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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