Wrexham Litter Pickers community group ‘making a positive change together’
Hundreds of Wrexham residents have teamed up to litter pick after the creation of a Facebook group which co-ordinated them all.
Kelly Evans, founder of Wrexham Litter Pickers, started collecting and disposing rubbish during her daily exercise which then became an idea for a local group aiming to clean the streets.
Almost 900 people have shared updates of their work since the group formed on 4 January and hundreds of bags are filled with rubbish every week, some finding strange items along the way.
When asked about the impact of the group, Kelly said: “It has highlighted a huge issue that perhaps some people weren’t aware of or just couldn’t see. People are making new friendships and it is a way of having contact with others during this very lonely time for some.
“The community is really coming together and I am excited to see what the future holds. We get recognised on picks now and the comments from people are nothing but positive.
“Nobody wants to see rubbish – it’s depressing.”
Volunteers often buy their own equipment, such as gloves, bags and litter pickers to carry out their work and share tips with each other on how best to go about doing it during lockdown.
Going out into their communities during adverse weather conditions, they are usually acknowledged due to their hi-vis jackets and thanked accordingly by passer-bys for their work.
Wrexham County Borough Council’s Pride in Your Streets team have been “really responsive” in collecting their litter bags, says David O’Brien – a prominent group member and organiser.
Kelly added: “Our planet needs help and, just looking at how much we pick, you can see the damage plastic is having on our environment. Some people say it’s not our job to clean up but my response to that is that it is our planet to enjoy and pass on to future generations.
“We are all making a positive change together. Long may it continue.”
More than 250 bags of litter have been collected by the volunteers and picked up by the Pride in Your Streets team since the beginning of February – the total updating every single day.
There have also been reports of “shocking” fly-tipping, says David, with a recent example being Cefn Road which has since been removed by Inside Out Home & Garden Services.
😡Shocking footage of the aftermath of recent #FlyTipping in @Wrexham Voluntarily cleaned up by a local home & garden business. If you paid someone to move this for you please let @wcbc know who it was @LitterWrexham @Keep_Wales_Tidy @NWPWrexhamRural https://t.co/V4kA9FEeQ2
— David O’Brien (@obrienphotos) February 15, 2021
During a Zoom meeting with the council, Kelly says the work they are doing is appreciated but they must all be aware of and follow the correct procedures for litter picking – which involves:
- Picking up litter before mowing verges on main roads;
- Using red/green bags so the Council can identify them as litter bags and not a fly-tip;
- Reporting litter picks to Streetscene on 01978 298 989 and making sure they identify themselves as a member of Wrexham Litter Pickers, what they have picked and where.
One other aspect which the group is concerned with is the welfare of animals, the RSPCA reporting there to be as many as 14 calls a day regarding the issue.
Everyday objects, such as plastic bags or elastic bands, can become hazardous when found accidentally by animals, with correct disposal potentially saving countless lives.
The #EndSkyLitter campaign is designed by the RSPCA to raise awareness on the affect sky litter, such as balloons and sky lanterns, have on animals as well as urging local councils to implement a ban on the release of these objects into the air.
All of Wales’ 22 local authorities have already banned the release of sky lanterns on land which they control following a long-running RSPCA campaign, with calls continuing for a Wales-wide ban.
To get involved locally, Wrexham Litter Pickers advise people to register as a volunteer for the Wrexham area with Keep Wales Tidy and ask for their advice on how to keep safe , and they are also asking for donations to their GoFundMe campaign which they say will help Wrexham Litter Pickers buy equipment and therefore continue their line of work for the community.
By Jordan Adams
Thanks to David O’Brien, Kelly Evans, Liz Vernon, Samantha Brand and Amanda Price
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