Volunteers wage war on litter

A new initiative has been launched in St Budeaux out of the good citizenship of a local citizen.
Andy Blackwell has lived in Saltash Passage for 10 years now and regularly walked his dog around the area, picking up rubbish he felt was dangerous or unsightly. Although she is no longer alive, the litter picking has continued around Saltash Passage and Kinterbury Woods, areas of stunning natural beauty and great views, yet often blighted by litter and fly tipping.
Littering is a national problem and is by no means confined to certain areas. Statistics make for unpleasant reading and can lead to a feeling of helplessness.
An estimated 122 tons of cigarette butts and cigarette-related litter is dropped every day across the UK.
• 1.3million pieces of rubbish are dropped on Highways Agency roads alone every weekend (over a year this adds up to a whopping 67.2m pieces of rubbish) with a third of drivers admitting to throwing litter while on the road.
• The rat population has boomed to 60 million due to the huge amounts of litter around, meaning there are now almost as many rats as people in the UK.
• Over 69,000 animals were killed or injured by litter last year in Britain.
Andy, however, has been conscientiously picking up rubbish on his patch for a full year now, as many of us often do, and he has decided to push his efforts further by becoming more of an urban activist.
The Anti-Litter Alliance (ALA) was formed to reduce the amount of litter in Barne Barton, St Budeaux and Saltash Passage; to encourage new connections between people at a neighbourhood level and to consider ways of improving the physical environment and in particular the natural spaces.
It aims to engage local people in numerous ways, not to shame, but to encourage to have a greater appreciation of their local environment, and a little more thought about what they drop on the floor. He is also hoping to find funding for a play he is working on with a group of young people to take into local schools, communicating the message in a peer friendly, non-preachy way.
The ALA aims to work alongside Plymouth City Council, who have committed to provide additional enforcement officers in 2018 who will patrol the streets of Plymouth. Andy believes that ordinary people can be empowered to take pride in their areas, working alongside the Council to help clean up our streets and create better, safer environments for ourselves, our pets, and the wildlife that lives alongside us.
Andy is hoping that the inaugural litter pick held on November 18 involving local people will be the first of many opportunities to empower local residents to take back control of their environment, revealing its full beauty. He is very pleased as well that Plymouth City Council will be targeting St Budeaux on December 4 and January 8 for extensive cleaning too.
Andy can be contacted on andyblackwell26@gmail.com


First published in the Plymouth Shopper – December 2017

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