Community Links life-president Kevin Jenkins OBE calls for a borough spring clean


- Credit: Archant

As spring gets into full flow and many of us are naturally thinking about cleaning our homes, sheds and garages, more of us need to think about spring cleaning our borough and keeping it clean year round.

The council’s recent budget challenge consultation found that one of our residents’ priorities is to live in a clean area, but sadly too many are still not using the boroughs 1,800-plus bins and dropping litter on to the street instead, or dumping rubbish on corners or in cul-de-sacs or discarding gum on the pavement.

As far as I am aware people outside the borough do not invade overnight and drop rubbish on the streets, pile up rubbish on street corners and discard their gum before retreating back across the borough’s boundaries.

No, it’s residents of this borough who do so, despite the risk of being caught, fined or going to court.

In such austere times it’s wrong the council is having to spend so much in keeping the borough clean when a change in attitude and behaviour of a minority of residents would negate this need, saving millions of pounds which could be spent on services for residents most in need.

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However, it concerns me that there appears to be little being spent in education and generating campaigns that inspire civic pride, which I believe are just as important as enforcement and continually clearing the rubbish if real and lasting change is to be achieved.

Campaigns in the past such as Keep Newham Clean and Keep Newham Tidy have been successful. Teaching children from an early age not to drop litter has been successful in other areas and countries, especially Scandinavian countries.

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When I was young I vividly remember my mother sweeping down the pavement at the front of our house each week, something that you seldom see now.

The councils former annual Newham in Bloom competition created much civic pride. If we can do more on education and create civic pride we have a better chance of creating real change. Perhaps we can start with every Newham resident a bin user. More from Kevin

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