Cleaning up the litter

This morning I joined volunteers in Swallowfield to help pick up litter. I had soon filled a large rubbish bag with old drink cans, food wrappings, crisp packets and other debris.

Thanks to all those who turned out to help. The place looked a lot tidier as we piled up the bags of rubbish.


  1. agricola
    March 23, 2024

    In 1959 colleagues and I collected a long wheelbase Land Rover full of similar detritus from about half a mile of Ullswaters shore after an Easter weekend of tourists. The sort that rarely leave their cars, except of course to acquire more takeaway packaging.

    Sadly the answer is not virtue signalling rubbish gathering, laudable though it may be. Start with advertising that depicts the guilty as less than the rubbish they shed. Follow this with heavy fines. Last time I visited Singapore it was $400 for any offence. Finally educate with as much enthusiasm as they promote sexual diversity.

    Finally ensure that all packaging is bio- degradeable, and all sea fishing nets are made from natural fibre with the same end in mind.

    At least you had a day in the fresh air, so count that as a plus.

  2. Bloke
    March 23, 2024

    Great work. Left litter (and graffiti particularly) are strong signs that people don’t care about the neighbourhood. Passers-by from elsewhere are often the worst offenders. Litter left is a sign to every next offender that dropping theirs carelessly is acceptable. Clean neighbourhoods help present places as safe and raise the local quality for all to enjoy. Participating as an MP is a sign of splendid leadership, attracting other good folk to follow.

  3. Derek
    March 23, 2024

    SJ, an MP with such a good example of public service, why have you been passed over for Cabinet so many times?
    Your absence from government policy making is a great loss to the rest of us, especially to OUR country.

  4. Michael Saxton
    March 23, 2024

    Bravo Sir John, my wife and I live in Cheshire where levels of littering have reached epidemic levels. This is a national crisis affecting not just our towns and cities but also our highways. We are constantly reporting litter to our local authority vis the FixMyStreet web site. It’s high time we had a national campaign and got our country cleaned up and we all need to follow your example.

  5. Hugh Counsell
    March 23, 2024

    Many thanks for helping to clear up litter – it is really appreciated. This is a huge problem which could be at least partially addressed by the introduction of a deposit return scheme. DRS schemes in many countries have been very successful with far fewer drinks bottles and cans dropped on the streets. Why is the government so slow? This could have been done years ago.

  6. Bob Plester
    March 23, 2024

    When you and I were in our youth there was the “Keep Britain Tidy” campaign.
    It’s about time that it was re-instated.

    1. Bloke
      March 24, 2024

      ‘Keep Britain Tidy!’ has been operating since 1954, with variable effect.
      After a car journey in Israel, Margaret Thatcher commented how clean the roads and street there were compared with those in the UK at the time.
      Surges help but are not sustained. A stronger penalty-based system should apply nationally.
      Then, gradually the population would be used to a higher standard, and more would react to prevent offenders at source. Smokers are prevented from harming others indoors in similar way.

  7. Keith Murray-Jenkins
    March 23, 2024

    If parents are beyond the Pale re ejimicatin’ their children to ‘respect’ Mother Earth, then – for sure – it’s down to teachers to try and instil this attitude to environment. Just the odd word occasionally might well do the trick. As some Indian tribes in America would say ‘The Earth Goddess expects respect, in fact demands it otherwise you are insulting her’. Cleanliness of your surroundings – inside the home and without – is via the time-honoured ritual of ‘doing your bit’ to keep slovenliness from taking over. All areas of a community demand this or chaos and ugliness and depravity ensue. I know we all know this. I’m just reminding us all…How easy it is to forget sometimes…

  8. Berkshire Alan
    March 24, 2024

    Pleased you were getting involved in the grass roots of public service.
    There are many local volunteering groups who complete such work on a regular basis, shame on Wokingham Council that until very recently they were proposing to remove many local litter bins in the area, as they were suggesting it was proving too costly to empty them.
    Indeed many bins are overflowing with rubbish for days on end, certainly in the busy areas of the town and popular open public places.
    Certainly agree the spread of litter gives a very poor impression of any area where it happens.
    Perhaps more/better education by parents, volunteers, and schools could help, but then so would a few more (not fewer) bins sensibly placed in areas of high pedestrian traffic. Shops, Cafes, Car parks, picnic tables etc.

  9. Rodney Needs
    March 24, 2024

    Thanks as a member of Adopt a street. Hopefully want could be recycled was

  10. Bryan Harris
    March 24, 2024

    Why are there so many ignorant people that dispose of their rubbish at the first convenient place – which is rarely a bin.

    I live in a position close to a school, and just far enough from the takeaways so that the nibblers have eaten all they can, and my garden is convenient.

    We shouldn’t need crews to clean up after the lazy so n so’s – Time to make them pay.

  11. Ian Done
    March 25, 2024

    Well done. Litter has become a much more visible problem in this country during the past ten years, I’ve never seen it as bad as it is now. We back on to the old Montgomery Canal – since we moved here eight years ago we keep the place tidy and it is really noticeable. I fully support your efforts.

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