Salford Heroes battle against litter bugs
The UK has a serious litter problem. With more than 2 million pieces of rubbish being dropped on the floor every day, somebody has got to pick it up.
Written by Joe Hough.
Wherever you go in the country rubbish can be found on the street, poking out of bushes in the park and floating in canals. Fortunately, there are groups of people who are volunteering to clean this mess up, such as Salford Litter Heroes. What can we do to help?
Salford Litter Heroes are a community-led litter picking group, determined to make the city a tidier place by tackling litter and fly tipping. Regrettably, there seems to be more litter droppers than litter heroes in our communities. This is a completely avoidable problem; something needs to change.
Danielle Wright, the founder of the Heroes, said her reasons for starting the group were, “the amount of litter I saw was really stressing me out, and nobody seemed to be doing anything about it.” She believes “most people are uneducated on the effects that litter causes, not realising that it’s killing animals and polluting our waters. I couldn’t sit around and do nothing.”
With ongoing cuts being made to local authorities, they seem to be “fighting a losing battle” as Danielle put it. “They do their best to help the group by providing us with equipment, but unless they can catch people in the act and give them a fine there isn’t enough to deter people from littering.”
There is a wide range of rubbish that is left on the ground: crisp packets, cigarette butts, chewing gum and plastic bottles, just to name a few. Although it gets stranger, Danielle has even found “a carrot wrapped in foil, which is apparently used for rude purposes, so I got told not to touch it!”
With £1 billion of taxpayer’s money going into keeping the streets clean every year and litter picking groups becoming increasingly popular, some places are kept on top of. This gives people an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude, but what many people fail to see is the areas that get neglected are turning into giant rubbish bins.
The recent pandemic has brought noticeable changes to the amount of rubbish being left where it does not belong. Danielle noticed an instant improvement when fast food chains such as McDonalds were forced to close. “It was amazing what wasn’t there, no Costa cups or anything like that. We did see an increase in fly tipping though with more people working on their homes and the tips being shut.”
Something that I am sure a lot of you have seen recently, is the sheer number of disposable masks that have been left on the streets. “I don’t understand the logic of leaving masks on the floor. They are worn to stop the spread of germs and leaving it on the floor will spread germs.”
There are ways you can fight against this bone-idle behaviour. You can join in with any of the Salford Litter Heroes events which can be found on their Facebook or Twitter pages. If you do not live nearby, there are other litter picking groups around the country that you can join.
You could even set up your own bunch of heroes if there is nothing in place, these groups not only help the environment, but they can be a great place to meet new people in your local area. More importantly though, recycle as much as possible and don’t be a tosser!