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“WE RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH ANN WHEAL FROM WALTHAM CHASE LITTER PICKERS GROUP TO QUIZ HER ABOUT ACTIVITIES IN HAMPSHIRE.”
“We are a volunteer group run by Garry Pothecary with the help of one or two others. I think it got it started when Gary used to go on walks with his wife and noticed the village was plagued with litter. He decided to do something about it. He advertised in the parish magazine for volunteers and also contacted the CRPE which supplies all our equipment.
“We’ve got a group of dedicated local people — all shapes and sizes! Our litter pickers ages range from about 12 to over 70, from all walks of life, type and ability.
“On a typical basis we’ll collect about 20 full black sacks of litter. But sometimes — such as after christmas — we’ll find much more. Whichever way you look at it, we think it is rather a lot considering the population of the village is only just over 2,000. We’ve even found car parts, which is pretty unusual.
“I think we are a very organised group. But people go about the task in their own ways, For instance, we have one couple who walk the village regularly who collect litter as they go along – we simply provided the equipment.
“We also have a volunteer who set up and runs the web site and Facebook page. We’ve also given litter picking equipment to the local post office, shop, and village hall to help them pick up litter.
“We’ll have 15 or 20 people go out litter-picking every three months plus there are a number of random picks. It’s good fun, and there is plenty of banter and chat at our litter-picks.
“If I was asked for tips or advice on setting up a litter-picking group, I’d say you have to keep up the momentum. Encourage as many people as possible to get involved. Every volunteer will each their their own skills, for instance someone will have web site skills; others might enjoy communication and marketing. Also, to create a group good camaraderie, enjoy a laugh, have a meet-up at the local pub at Christmas.
“Our town isn’t too bad for litter because we keep on top of it. There are some particularly bad areas that we ‘pick’ regularly. It’s a case of concentrating your fire to make the biggest impact.
“We have encouraged other local villages which now have their own litter-picking groups so it’s great to know the message is spreading.
“Who drops the litter in the first place? Littering is a social problem across the board, but we see a lot of litter from 18–26 year olds, plus car drivers, children and smokers.
Everybody says ‘it’s a good idea’ but then often drop their own litter – better people education.”
WHAT ARE THE THREE MAIN THINGS THAT WOULD CUT DOWN LITTERING IN THIS COUNTRY?
- Litter cameras
- More biodegradable packaging
- Less packaging from places like Mcdonald’s.
Thanks to Ann and all the pickers at Waltham Chase — keep up the good work!