November 2020: I’m done wringing my hands and raging at the appalling volume of litter ‘decorating’ our streets and pavements, grass verges and hedgerows that offends me daily on our lockdown walks. My husband Steve has bought ‘his n’ hers’ litter pickers for our wedding anniversary (!) and I take on the role of joint leader with him of the new ‘litterati’.
Steve begins by finding online some wonderfully official-looking “No litter’ notices and fixing them to the fence at the entrance to an alleyway that is often ankle deep in litter; meanwhile, I deftly clear the alley with my new weapon. Now our daily walks have a new purpose – we still look at the stars, but we cast our eyes downwards to the gutters, pavements and verges too, to clear them of the bottles and cans, baby wipes and takeaway boxes – and face-masks – the latest addition to the all the unsightly detritus that folk seem to have lost the will to bin or take home …
On a walk of a couple of miles round our patch of suburbia, we pick up everything we spot – and I’m gratified to say, that though there’s still plenty to fill a bag daily, the volume has dropped substantially, especially down our alley, and we are often greeted by local residents who want to thank us.
At the risk of sounding preachy, we thank them and gently emphasise not only the need to properly bag rubbish for collection so birds and foxes don’t scatter it, but the imperative for every householder to take proper responsibility for the verge and roadway in front of their property.
Perhaps householders should feel the need to clean up, no matter where the rubbish has come from. This simple civic responsibility would make a huge difference to the cleanliness and beauty of town and countryside – as indeed would all dog owners taking away dog waste rather than leaving it – or leaving dog bags – on verges and in hedges.
Most householders take great pride in the cleanliness of the cars in their drives so it’s not a great ask to extend this to the verges and roadway.
Our guess is most school kids would actually find litter-picking fun! Our grandchildren aged 9 and 6 are now really into competitive – and cooperative – litter-picking.
There are folk litter-picking countrywide of course, but now we are reaching out to your members and asking anyone who wants to join Jewish Renaissance to get in touch with the Keep Britain Tidy* campaign, whose seventh annual #GBSpringClean and #GBSchoolClean will take place from 25 March to 10 April 2022.
Let’s try to coordinate our efforts. Just think, if everyone took responsibility for the pavement, verge or road outside their home, it would be pretty well ‘job done’!