Medway Green Party on litter

A Medway Green Party member has responded to recent revelations regarding Medway Council’s spending on clearing up litter.

Medway Council had revealed that £3.8 million (roughly £14 per person) goes towards picking up litter and emptying bins within the Towns.

image2Local Artist and Green Party member, Paul Cumming-Benson, who has previously taken part in litter picks on The Lines, says:

“The litter and fly tipping problem in Medway has been a long term concern of mine.  Not only is it unsightly, and costly to remove, but it also poses a risk to local wildlife, pets and fish. The RSPCA
report over 70,000 calls a year on litter related incidents, where their inspectors have had to rescue animals trapped or hurt by litter.” [1]

Paul has come across several schemes which could aid enforcement teams in catching people who drop litter. Paul says:

“Firstly, the use of posters (depicting large eyes) displayed in places where litter has been left before, combined with CCTV; the eyes often put people off, but any culprits can be identified in court, using CCTV evidence.

“Secondly, the idea of stamping the vehicle registration number on ‘takeaway’ food and drink packaging by ‘drive in’ takeaways, like McDonalds in Strood. The Police can then easily identify culprits by checking with DVLC.  This idea was tried in Essex and proved quite successful.

image1“The problem of ‘fly tipping’ is not at all easy to solve, but it can be partly addressed by placing CCTV cameras on telegraph poles etc. near to sites where fly tipping has occurred before.  Once again, the registration number of the vehicle can be used to identify culprits via DVLC. Farmers and landowners should work together with the police on this.

“On a wider issue, it would help if the amount of packaging used by commercial outlets who sell food and other products was cut down, and packaging (especially plastic) should always be biodegradable, so as to minimise harm to the environment”.

Frustrated by his personal attempts to arrange for the removal of shopping trolleys dumped in mud beside the River Medway, Paul was inspired to capture the scenes in his paintings [2].

Paul comments:image3“Neither Medway Ports Authority nor Peel Ports considered removing the trolleys in their remit. The manager of Morrisons said that he would follow it up, and one or two trolleys were later removed.  However, more trolleys appeared a few months later. Since then, very little action has been taken, so the trolleys remain!   There are other things in the mud such as traffic cones and bits of bicycle, and, again, nobody takes responsibility for them!  I might use them as subjects for future pictures…

“If everyone shared responsibility for keeping our streets, countryside and rivers clean, the Medway area would be a much nicer place to live for us all”.






[2] Photos courtesy of (and copyright to) Paul Cumming-Benson


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