Q&A interview with NHDC’s environment chief, who backs our Hitchin Hates Litter campaign
- Credit: Archant
As our Hitchin Hates Litter Campaign continues, we sat down with Cllr Steve Jarvis, NHDC’s executive member for environment, to discuss his thoughts on littering in Hitchin since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Q: Has lockdown contributed to the amount of litter we’re seeing in the district?
A: When lockdown was starting to be eased by May, we saw large numbers of people taking the opportunity to get out more, visiting their local parks and green spaces. Great weather encouraged people to meet up for picnics, drinks or just a chat. In some park, we saw more people gathering than ever before. People brought bottles and food into the parks, so there was more rubbish being generated than ever before as well.
Q: And why do you think people were littering more then? We have bins all over the district, and especially so in Hitchin.
A: Around the same time, the staff who empty bins and clean our parks were getting back to work and finding ways that they could work safely. The result was that on occasion, the bins in our parks were being filled up faster than we could empty them. Most people dealt with this either by finding a bin that wasn’t full, or by taking their rubbish home. Unfortunately, some people are still failing to take these simple steps.
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Q: So what was the result of that? A: Well, a massive increase in the amount of litter in some parks. As several residents highlighted, the situation was particularly bad at Windmill Hill and also in Great Ashby District Park, where staff were faced with the need to remove huge amounts of rubbish some mornings.
Q: So what has the council done to stop the bins overflowing and keep litter under control?
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A: The council installed larger bins and we made sure to empty bins more often. That’s reduced the problem, but it certainly hasn’t gone away. There are still people who leave rubbish lying around, even if there’s space in a nearby bin. We also launched our “Don’t be a tosser” campaign to highlight the problem, asking everyone to put their litter in a bin or take it home, rather than tossing it on the ground. Picking up litter costs the council money that we would rather spend on improving our parks.
Q: What are your thoughts on our Hitchin Hates Litter campaign?
A: I am pleased to back the Comet’s community litter picking campaign to further assist with the issue. But I urge all readers, please don’t expect people to clean up after you. Be responsible and pick up your litter.”