Donkey Field Community Clean Up (19 September)

Every Community Clean Up that we’ve run since March has been impressive in its own way, whether due to the number of bags of rubbish found, the people who have braved the elements to show that they want to take a stand against litter, or as a result of the items found.  The Clean Up this past weekend at Donkey Field certainly falls into the latter category: chair seats, a tire, a bucket of paint, a bicycle, and a supermarket trolley were just a few of the more unusual items found.  It was also great to see a mix of new and familiar faces, and I am amazed at the group that is forming and their passion for keeping Chippenham clean.

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Craig rescues a Flood sign …

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… as well as a trolley and a few other items from Hardenhuish Brook.

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Heather and her family got stuck in, and it was great to see her children leading the charge against litter …

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Rob has been a great supporter since we started carrying out Community Clean Ups in March.

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Sarah, Matthew, and Steven are also regular Community Clean Up participants. Matthew, a teenager at one of the local schools, said something that I have been pondering all weekend. When asked why he thought students littered, he answered “They want to get on with their lives as quickly as possible.”  

This indicates that packaging/rubbish is viewed as a barrier, something that serves to slow one down. In many ways, this is a symptom of modern life, where the goal is to make things as “frictionless” as possible: we have contactless debit cards and one-click payment methods, travel and event tickets are delivered straight to our mobiles, and taxis can be ordered to our doorstep simply by pressing a button.  Using a bin, especially one that’s out of the way, slows you down.  Ditto carrying things that are no longer needed (it may also be messy).  So the question may not be “How to stop people from littering?” but rather, “How do we make not littering the best option?”

 

We’ve now had a chance to properly crunch the numbers:

  • 22 Glass Bottles
  • 144 Plastic Bottles
  • 140 Cans
  • 8 bags general rubbish

The breakdown by type:

  • Unknown: 14%
  • Alcohol: 18%
  • Energy Drinks: 17%
  • Fruit Drinks: 6%
  • Milk Drinks: 2%
  • Soda: 25%
  • Sports Drinks: 10%
  • Water: 6%
  • Other: 2%

Stay tuned for the list of brands a little later this week. These figures include the litter found in “Woody Woods” (or so Google calls it), an area across from Donkey Field. We did not clean this area in March, so it’s not possible to do a straight like-for-like comparison of Donkey Field in March and in September.  However, the mess in Woody Woods is worth a look:

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This is particular patch needs regular upkeep; Jon and I cleaned it in the spring and got 33 bags of rubbish and recycling out of it. Recently we found another 8 bags worth (as well as a few speakers). While we cannot do a Community Clean Up here due to health and safety considerations, it’s definitely an area we will re-visit ourselves.

If you’d like to participate in our next Community Clean Up, please mark your calendar for Saturday, 17 October, 2015.  We’ll be out at Pewsham Park from 10:00am until noon.  Whether you can come by for 5 minutes or the full two hours, your help is much appreciated!

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