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Lessons learned from litter picking

On the last Sunday in June some of the parishes took part in a JEP community initiative to tackle the Island’s litter problem. The St Helier litter pick, sponsored by the CI Co-Op, started in the Royal Square with Heather equipping us with all we needed before we set off around the town in search of rubbish. Here’s what I learned from the exercise:

  • St Helier’s cleaning teams do a terrific job: the town’s streets and precincts were remarkably clean for a Sunday morning, considering how untidy the town centre gets on a Saturday evening, and the cleanliness of our streets is often remarked upon by visitors
  • Litter is no respecter of boundaries: most of the litter I collected was in areas that are just off the public highway - Cross Street, for example. If private lanes, entrances, lobbies etc are not kept clean by their owners, the litter that collects in them rapidly finds its way into the public realm
  • We’re not winning the battle against cigarette litter: in spite of fewer people taking up the habit, there’re still far too many discarded cigarette ends around. Some people seem to think dropping their butts in the gutter is acceptable but it isn’t. Fag ends are toxic and many find their way into the sea; those that don’t stay in the gutter
  • We need to invest in the best equipment available to enable our street cleaning teams to tackle cigarette ends and chewing gum more efficiently; I am only a novice but trying to pick up a butt with long-handled tongs isn’t the best use of my time!
  • We need to find a way of getting town pavements washed frequently in the summer to combat stains and spills
  • The majority of people care about their surroundings and don’t drop litter in the first place!
Simon Crowcroft, Constable of St Helier