Jill Hope

Northamptonshire County Councillor for Sixfields - a Lib Dem campaigner working all year round, not just at election time Learn more

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HOW would YOU solve the rubbish problem? Suggestions please!

by Jill Hope on 30 April, 2011

Spotless street when this picture was taken earlier this month

ONE of the regular comments I have encountered on the doorstep as I’ve campaigned in West Hunsbury has been that Northampton town centre is dirty.

I’m regularly in Abington Street at 8am and I can absolutely promise you that at that time the street is perfectly clean. Then the people come and they drop litter, so within a couple of hours it’s a mess. Must be very disheartening for the street cleaners.  

There are rubbish bins every few metres on Abington Street, so there is really no excuse for anyone to drop anything on the ground, not even a cigarette end. I sometimes wonder what these people’s houses look like – do they take something out of the fridge, unwrap it and then drop the wrapping on the floor?

On occasions I have actually tackled someone dropping litter – not rudely, just the polite “I think you’ve dropped something”. Occasionally they look embarassed and pick it up, but usually you get sworn at instead.

So on the basis that there are lots of bins, and the fact that we probably can’t afford to have lots of people on duty all the time going round and round the town centre doing nothing but picking up litter (though this would be a great job for community payback), I wondered if anyone had any ideas how we could solve this problem?

There are cameras in the town centre, and if anyone is spotted riding a bike in the worng place or dropping litter, a disembodied voice shouts at them. However once Abington Street gets busy I don’t imagine that the cameras can easily spot a litterer.

I do believe that the ‘sheep’ principal applies. If a street is really clean, people are less likely to drop their litter, and vice versa. This implies that it is really important to maintain the high level of cleanliness all day, but that’s costly.

Any bright ideas gratefully received.


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