April 2nd, 2015

Pick of the bunch: communities and litter

Photo by  St Peter's Community News (CC BY-SA 2.0)

by Sophie Crosswell

 

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that litter’s a bad thing, right? Yet the most recent Local Environmental Quality Survey of England (LEQSE) report found ‘unacceptable’ levels of litter at 11% of sites inspected – and ‘acceptable’ doesn’t necessarily mean none. So if we all agree that litter is bad, how come we drop so much of it, and what are we going to do about it?

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February 27th, 2015

Solving a sticky litter problem

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by Emma How

 

My husband vividly recalls being made to write out ‘the mastication of glutinous substances is obnoxious’ 100 times on the blackboard when caught chewing in class. Although symbolising the anti-social mindlessness of adolescence for many a schoolmaster, the problems associated with chewing gum are, regrettably, not confined to the Just William classrooms of yesteryear.

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January 23rd, 2015

Clean streets, dirty conscience?

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by Ian Doyle

 

Ask residents what’s important to them in their local environment and clean streets will always be one of the first things they mention. Litter, in all its unpleasant forms, has the power to dramatically affect perceptions of environmental quality and reduce residents’ pride of place, and there is evidence that it has detrimental effects in terms of property values, mental health, and crime. Therefore, it’s not surprising that clean streets are given high value.

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May 30th, 2014

The bud, the bad, and the ugly

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by Thomas Appleby

 

I recently joined a group of students from the University of West England – where I lecture in Law – and the Marine Conservation Society in a beach clean at Sand Bay in North Somerset. During the clean, I was appalled by the huge number of blue plastic cotton bud stalks littering the beach, as were the students taking part. These stalks, which are used to hold the buds, are apparently washed down through the sewers: the public, not realising these plastic stalks do not decompose, flush them down the toilet and sewage treatment does not filter them out. The stalks then pollute the beach and interfere with the public’s enjoyment.

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May 16th, 2014

Litter-picking: why bother?

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by Erica Rose

 

One day last May, a bag of litter caused me to have a life-changing revelation. I was on the verge of the A170 in North Yorkshire at the time, 100 metres or so into my first solo litter-pick, the wheelbarrow was almost full and I was just about to turn for home when I spotted the bag in a ditch. It was full of the aftermath of someone’s lunch – cans, sweet wrappers and sandwich-boxes – and as I dragged it out I was angry enough to rant aloud at whoever had dumped it there. The bit that was revelatory (and printable) was when I heard myself saying “What did you think was going to happen to this, Mr Bag-Dumping Moron? Who did you think was going to pick it up? Do you believe in the Crap Fairy or something?!” I stopped. I looked at myself with the bag in my hands. Ah.

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May 9th, 2014

The giant of Africa’s giant waste problem

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by Wale Bakare

 

Solid waste management is the most pressing environmental challenge faced by urban and rural areas of Nigeria, a country with a population exceeding 170 million and one of the largest producers of solid waste in Africa. Despite a host of policies and regulations, solid waste management in the country is assuming alarming proportions with each passing day.

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January 17th, 2014

Picking up the evidence: what’s the cost of litter?

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by Chris Sherrington

 

Is all this concern about litter overblown? Does government really need to intervene to reduce levels of litter, or is it just a distraction from more urgent issues? What are the negative effects of litter and how significant are they; and given the range of apparently competing pressures, what is a policymaker to do?

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