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ENVIRONMENT: 17k bags of rubbish collected in Walsall

ENVIRONMENT: 17k bags of rubbish collected in Walsall

Karen Pickles and Karen Morris, of the Wombles of Willenhall, hard at work. PIC: Gurdip Thandi LDR

Selfless volunteers have collected a staggering 17,000 bags of rubbish dumped by shameless Walsall people in less than a year.

Council bosses heard how teams of litter pickers went out everyday between January and November to take action against the problem and support the authority’s teams to keep the borough tidy.

But while the volunteers earned warm praise, Walsall Council’s cabinet severely criticised offenders blighting the town.

Councillor Oliver Butler, portfolio holder for clean and green, said a total of 666 volunteers clocked up around 9,217 hours between January and November.

This saw them collect a total of 68,632kg of litter which went into 17,158 four kilogram bags – the equivalent of more than 45 family cars weighing 1,500kg each.

Councillor Butler said the volunteers will form part of the new street scene strategy which is being launched to help improve and maintain town streets.

He said: “Up to November, we’d collected 17,158 bags. I don’t know whether to be pleased or to cry.

“It’s absolutely brilliant what the volunteers are doing but on the other side there is that much litter being dropped by the people of Walsall, which is quite disappointing. The staff in clean and green are also out clearing litter.

“It is not the council or councillors who drop the litter. It doesn’t come falling out of the sky. It’s perhaps quite a large minority who drop that litter.”

Council leader Mike Bird added: “This is rubbish deposited by the people who live here. It’s alright them saying the council aren’t clearing it up but the answer is don’t drop it in the first place.

“Nothing frustrates me more than when I see an adult walking down the street with a child and throws the litter on the floor. That child grows up thinking that’s the way you should act in a public place. I’m sorry, it’s not.

“We will be looking in the very near future to increase the fixed penalty for people who think its right and proper to throw litter on the floor to the detriment of the street scene.

“Our barrow men are out there in all weathers picking up the detritus people think they are allowed to throw on the floor. Enough is enough. This is not acceptable behaviour.

Well done to the unsung heroes who work tirelessly 365 days a year to make this place cleaner, greener and stronger.

“The volunteers who do it say they enjoy it. They say it’s healthy and good for them to go out and walk there but I’d rather they went into a gym rather than pick up the rubbish they think it’s ok to drop. Well done all those volunteers.”

Pheasey councillor Chris Towe also said: “I’m part of a litter picking group that picks every fortnight on a Sunday and we do Barr Beacon regularly.

“And the litter we get from one of our beauty spots is appalling. People should be ashamed of themselves.”

Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

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