Litter Picket

A new term has entered the community activism arena – we’ve been litter-picking and we’ve had litter picks for many a year but we’ve now got the “litter picket”. Yes – a new approach in communities’ struggles to keep where they live clean and safe.

We owe this innovation to the gallant people of Easton in Bristol. The people of Easton, assisted by the charity Up Our Street (whose photo is shown below), held their litter picket outside Easton Leisure Centre in an attempt to get people to make an effort to keep their community clean and tidy.

Stapleton Road litter picket 14 Oct 14

It seems that the introduction of communal bins led to people using them to get rid of larger items (such as unwanted furniture and sofas) which could have been recycled.

The message that they wanted to get across to the perpetrators was that “people are sick of this mess and there should be more respect for keeping the streets clean and tidy”.

It was notable that the council’s street cleansing contractor, May Gurney, and indeed the City Council itself were not singled out for criticism : “they are doing their best – this is more about urging residents to make sure they get rid of their rubbish properly”.

The litter picket, along with the other elements in the campaign (such as articles in the press and on blogs, reporting litter and fly-tipping to the council and posting pictures of litter and fly-tipping on Twitter accounts) has had a good effect and has seen a reduction in the amount of fly-tipping in the area. It has spawned Twitter frenzy with the hash tag #tidyBS5 and there will even be a local Litter Summit to get people involved.

So I take my hat off to you, people of Easton. You have not only introduced a new term into our language – you have also inspired us all to think how we could make use of the “litter picket” concept for changing the attitude and behaviour of people in our communities.

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