I was pleasantly surprised to see that Chippenham was selected as a Clean for the Queen “grot spot”, winning a professional cleaning. The entries were based on nominations, and I chose to nominate the “Black Swamp” of Monkton Park for several reasons:
- It’s not an area that can be safely cleared by volunteers. We have to do a risk assessment for all Community Clean Ups and water is a big no-no.
- Much of the rubbish that seems to accumulate here is recyclable, and I think it’s necessary to draw attention to the lack of recycling-on-the-go facilities.
- This is an area in the very centre of town and just a stone’s throw from the Wiltshire Council building. What better way to showcase the problem of litter in town?
Because, unfortunately, Chippenham as a whole is highly littered: check out the pavements around Hungerdown Lane or Bath Road, or come along to any of our Community Clean Ups. That being said, I do not believe Chippenham is unusual compared to towns and communities across the UK: it is neither more littered nor less public spirited. Indeed, I feel it is representative of many areas, where a mindset of “it’s someone else’s responsibility” has set in. However, why should it be someone else’s job to clean up after us? After all, isn’t it within our own power to use a bin or take rubbish home? To make it clear to our family and friends that this is the norm, not wasting taxpayers’ money on something we can do ourselves?
I hope this will give us the opportunity to capitalise on any publicity and turn it into a positive: let’s show that the residents of Chippenham want to live in a cleaner community. Ultimately, we should be striving to get to the point where clean ups like this aren’t necessary because, quite simply, litter should no longer exist.