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A load of rubbish in war on litter bugs; Shock tactics in council's clean-up blitz.

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

SHOCK tactics were employed at the weekend in a bid to stop people littering. South Tyneside Council's Blitz It street cleaning team piled up the rubbish collected over the last week from three town centre streets in South Shields.

The bagged litter went on show in King Street in the town.

It costs the council pounds 2m a year to clean up after litter bugs.

"We hope that people will have been shocked by the display and that they take the point on board," said the council's assistant head of streetscape Kevin Wallace.

"The town centre is the shop window for visitors to South Shields and we wanted to make a point and show people how much litter we have to contend with and how much it costs everybody.

"Litter is a massive problem. A lot of it is habit with people doing what they have done for years, but it is unacceptable.

"We see it as a challenge to change people's behaviour and stop them littering in the first place. The public are very supportive of any action we take to prevent litter."

Mr Wallace said that 70% of the town centre litter was smoking-related, with food packaging and chewing gum next.

In the last year the council has handed out 5,000 "stubbies", or portable ash trays, to smokers, with 2,000 being distributed last week.

Wardens have also served 130 pounds 50 fixed penalty fines to litterers over the last 12 months.

A campaign has also been launched by Easington Council in County Durham to combat chewing gum litter.

Research by environmental charity ENCAMS found that chewing gum litter was present in 95% of areas surveyed across Britain, with the national cost of dealing with the problem estimated to be more than pounds 400m


A 40% household recycling rate is not an over-ambitious target for local authorities, a North council has claimed.

Alnwick District Council's head of environmental services Richard Thompson spoke at the end of Recycle Week, an annual awareness campaign which ran from June 2-8 organised by the national Waste and Resources Action Programme. The council was the first local authority in the North East to demonstrate that a 50% recycling rate for dry household waste was achievable.

It ran a competition, using football-style league tables to encourage communities to recycle as much as possible in return for cash rewards. The project improved recycling rates and received Government praise.

Mr Thompson said one of the most effective ways of reducing waste that goes to landfill is to cut down on the amount of food that is thrown out.

He said: "It is the heaviest and most wasteful thing we throw out in Britain and contributes to a third of our rubbish. Reducing that alone can make a tremendous difference to the ratio between the waste we recycle and that which we just throw away, unnecessarily." Mr Thompson is also encouraging householders to make best use of green garden waste. He said: "This is material that can be very effectively and easily used to make compost at home."


BINNED South Tyneside Council cleansing department workers Derek Ward, left, and Keith Ainsley, with some of the litter collected in South Shields town centre over the last week. Picture: Simon Hobson ref: 01110656
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 9, 2008
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