Clean Up Chippenham

It was great to see Chippenham Town Council make a start on
addressing the problem of litter with yesterday’s “Chipp Litter Pick”.  However, we need to capitalise on the
momentum from this, Clean for the Queen, and our monthly Community Clean Ups if
we want to show that Chippenham is taking litter seriously. This means focusing on stopping litter from occurring in the first place.  To do this, a united front is needed with government,
schools, businesses, and individuals all working together to send the same
message: Enough is enough!

The
following measures are low in cost but require effort and engagement from
everyone. While we’ve made progress on a few of these, we would like to see a full
“litter-free ecosystem” so that everyone can enjoy a cleaner and safer town.

1.  Raising awareness of the problem.

  • Local
    radio, television, and papers to run feature stories and inform residents of
    the problems caused by litter.  Promote
    the idea that they are throwing away money on cleaning that could be spent
    elsewhere.
  • Advise
    that littering carries an £80 on-the-spot fine.
    [May be going up to £150!]
  • Banners
    on town bridges, and posters placed on bus shelters, lamp posts, and BT boxes.

2.  Education.

Invite
all schools to engage in a five-step plan to tackle the litter on their grounds
and the surrounding paths.  This can be
done with infant, primary and senior schools, with the potential of awards or
prizes given out (e.g. Cleanest School, Most Improved School).

  • Discuss and analyse the problem with students: What problems do
    they think litter causes? Who do they think is responsible
    for it?
  • Collect
    photos and information:
    Where is litter being found?  What is the base level?
  • Devise an action plan with input from the
    students:
    How can the problem be solved at that particular school?  What interventions can be tested?
  • Measure success: Do the interventions lead to a
    reduction in litter?
  • Maintain success: Encourage students to keep
    areas litter free.

3.  Encourage
business participation to keep their premises clean.

  • Businesses to be issued with anti-litter posters
    and free clean up pack including a broom and portable ashtrays.  
  • Remind employees that there’s “No smoke without
    litter” and all cigarette butts should be disposed of properly.
  • Remind businesses of their obligation to clean
    up to 100m from their premises.  This
    should be done regularly throughout the day – not just one sweep at the end of
    the day.
  • All businesses that give out
    items not consumed on their premises must brand their packaging so we can
    monitor where they end up.
  • Promote reduce, reuse, recycle message
    especially with businesses.  Encourage
    fewer plastic bags; packaging main culprits in Chippenham are Subway, Tesco,
    Greggs, Costa, McDonald’s, and Sainsbury’s.

4.  Promote and improve our local “binfrastructure”.

  • Green footsteps to be painted on pavements to
    nudge towards anti-litter behaviour.
  • Bins to be cleaned and, where possible, changed
    from black to brighter coloured refuse sacks.
  • Dual use stickers on bins to promote dog poo
    bags and general litter use.
  • Residential bins to be used as extra bins with
    permission from householders and label saying permission has been given.
  • Skips that are placed near shops/takeaways must
    be securely covered at night to stop litter being blown around; this could be a
    condition placed on the builders at the time they are granted permission to
    site the skip.

5. 
Encourage
involvement throughout the community.

  • Weedy, overgrown walkways or uncared for
    “wastelands” encourage litter.  Plant flowers
    and tidy up to make an area look loved.
  • Local groups like bowls, tennis, football clubs,
    etc. to be asked to take part to help clean up their playing areas.  Create a leader board for different parts of
    Chippenham to instigate a competitive element, with the potential to win an
    award or prize.

Imagine one full month (or more) where, everywhere you turned, the message was crystal clear: Chippenham no longer tolerates litter.  We have made a start … let’s keep going.

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