“Why can’t we have more bins?” “What’s the council doing about the litter?” “Why haven’t you cleared up the dog poo?” Most councillors will have heard this type of comment many times. In 2017 it cost local authorities £682 million to keep our streets clean. In addition Highways England spends at least £6 million a year on collecting litter from main roads.
All very depressing, but here are two positive examples of what could be:
In India, a young lawyer called Afroz Shah from Mumbai decided to clear a local beach of rubbish. Along with his 84-year-old friend, he brought the local community together and three years later the sand is now visible. More than 12,000 tonnes of plastic have been removed from Versova beach. Wildlife has returned. But the volunteers cannot stop – it’s an ongoing fight.
Elsewhere, Japanese football fans surprised everyone recently when they voluntarily cleaned up after themselves during the World cup. In Japan, the government doesn’t spend millions employing cleaners to keep the streets clean. There are no bins in public parks. Everybody just follows a simple rule – do not throw your rubbish on the floor. Could a similar approach work here I wonder?
Frome employs a small army of people to clean the streets, empty the bins and keep our public spaces tidy. Most people don’t drop litter, but wouldn’t it be nice if more of us picked it up when we saw it? Local groups like Friends of the River Frome, HOPE Frome, Trinity Community Group and others are taking the lead by organising regular litter picks.
Frome Town Council could help you to do the same – just get in touch and we will try to help with practical advice and litter picking tools. Why not get your community together and bin it for Frome!