Community Column: Where Has All the Litter Gone?

Published November 16, 2016 at 9:17

Civic Pride rally Rossendale into becmoing litter free.

Walk down Bacup Road in Rawtenstall early on Sunday morning and you’ll doubtless see plenty of fast food litter, cans, bottles and cigarette ends strewn across the pavements. Take Away corner is a reminder of what most of Rossendale used to look like before Civic Pride and other volunteers got to grips with the problem.

Still that’s only a small area and Rossendale generally looks so, so much better. It looks like the problems been resolved then. Think so? Then think again!

Civic Pride estimates that 3,000 bags of litter will be collected across the borough this year. That sounds like a lot of litter, particularly when you consider that each bag weighs around 6kgs when full! So, that’s about 18 tons of litter that will be picked up across the valley this year.

Let’s put it another way. Each bag contains an average of between 500 and 600 items. Paper, crisp packets, take away containers, bottles, cans, wipes, cigarette ends and even ladies knickers and other items of clothing! OK, so let’s do the maths. 3000 x 500 (the lower figure) is 1,500,000 pieces of litter that will be collected from Rossendale streets in 2016. One and a half MILLION pieces of litter!

The A682 from the fire station roundabout to the A59 is about a mile long. It has two verges and a central reservation. Civic Pride volunteers clear its litter regularly. On the last few occasions it’s been done every 10 days. Each time, we’ve collected over 3.5 bags. That’s around 2000 items of litter or 200 pieces that are thrown out of the windows of vehicles every single day – 8 for every hour of the day!

Now not all of these people will be residents of Rossendale but they must live somewhere. What is it that gives people the right to ruin our environment? Is it too much to ask people to take their litter home or drop it in a litter bin? Is it fair that willing volunteers should risk life and limb picking up other people’s rubbish?

The lady who left a note of thanks on my car windscreen summed it up nicely ‘…we live with people who do not value and litter (the area). You redress the balance…You make my heart smile’.
Please help us by not dropping litter, by preventing others and by picking up what you see as you go about your daily business. Thank you.

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