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I chose the title Tidylondon after watching the bbc news today about the tidiness of Britain.London is the gateway to Britain.Great Britain ruled over 60 countries in the world.People from these countries look up to Britain as their role model.Most of the tourist or businessmen may not visit any other city in Britain other than London.For that reason , it is important that we should keep London clean.
A tv programme titled "Our dirty Britain" show different practices by different councils.They are:
*Impose a fine for throwing cigarette butts.
*Mc Donalds enter the car registration number to trace offenders if the receipt were found on ihe streets.
*Looking for evidence in fly tipping to trace culprits.
In Camden Town ,one side of street was kept dirty and opposite side kept clean as an experiment.People kept on piling rubbish on the dirty side and kept the other side clean.Programme also show over 1000 volunteers have kept beaches clean,
I find it frustrating to note that the councils have failed in their duty in keeping the city clean.I have experienced this first hand.Two years back I started a social enterprise with the intention of contributing towards a cleaner environment.
There is a Capital clean up programme by Mayor of London offering 500 pounds for Charities taking part .Such a token amount is insufficient to have a sustainable programme.
On the 2nd of January 2011 I registered a social enterprise.One of my project is to keep alleyways and public places tidy.I selected a few alleyways , public places such as underground stations ,main street and bus stations and started cleaning them . Every day I started working at 4am. Subsequently I thought that I need to work with the council for my efforts to be successful.
I tried hard to get an appointment with the council to discuss my project.First hurdle was to pass through the reception.I was given a number of phone numbers to contact.They were environment,community development,recycling and many others.I managed to meet the chief at the recycling centre.I offered to clean up alleyways free of charge,in return for the council to let me work with them in an approved arrangement. I was told those arrangement will cost jobs.
The attitude of the officials did not deter me from my intention to keep my environment clean.I continued with cleaning up of alleyways which I regularly use.Every morning before dawn I went and cleaned up Station Road ,Edgware,bus station and underground station.I also asked for permission from private businesses to let me clean in front of their premises.I was told that it is the responsibility of the council and definitely not mine. These negative attitude did not deter me from tidying up these places.I filmed my activities as evidence to show to the council officials the state of these public places.
After I started cleaning up along station road ,Edgware I could see that presence of council cleaners in the area.When I approached shop manager of Starbuck,he volunteered to clean in front of his premises . Now so much can be achieved through social media.Purpose of this hub is to bring awareness about this problem.
Fly tipping is very common along the service roads.Typical example is the rare of the building number 200 along Station Road.Fly tipping has gone out of hand ,I brought this to the notice of Be occupants of the ground floor of this building as well as the council with no response.
I have again started to clean this with the hope of stopping the fly tipping.Councils are quick to give parking tickets without looking after these roads.
Action by council
Now each council is spending as much as 500000 pounds a year on projects called alleygating. They claim that these will reduce crimes in alleyways.The reasons given for alleygating are :
*Reduces congregation of youths.
*Reduces dog littering.
After I started cleaning I find that fly tipping has stopped completely.All other forms of littering has reduced considerably. I believe the councils should consider the option of keeping alleyways tidy as opposed to alleygating.
Council believe that closing the alleyways will solve the problem.Are we closing down pubs to control binge drinking or closing down betting shops to reduce gambling.
Councils are refusing to accept the fact that budget cut is affecting them to provide the service for the community.What is wrong in accepting support from the community.Why our offer of help should be turned down.
Attitude of public
Attitude of the public should change towards keeping London tidy.This cannot be change by imposing fines or closing down alleyways.The public attitude will change if they see more cleaning up activity everyday on the streets.
Fly tipping is another major concern.People consider this as acceptable.There is sufficient power in the hands of the council to penalise those who are fly tipping but council choose not to enforce.
Our proposal is that every town roads and alleyways in London need sponsors who will fund the charities or social enterprise to run the tidying up operation. Charities or social enterprise have no vested interest. .A business ,a council or an individual could sponsor a road.
Any town in London could be taken as a pilot project and cleaned every day for a week to see how public will react to this.We have to get away blame culture and start to accept responsibility in making London a clean city.
Charities ,social enterprise and volunteers have proved the effectiveness in a number of projects.Volunteer participation in the olympics was a prime example.Government and councils should at least undertake pilot projects to see the effectiveness of community participation.
Cost of clearing litter
Cost of clearing streets
Cost of clearing dog litter
Councils have started fining people for throwing cigarette butts on the streets while they leave bins,rubbish bags and alleyways overflowing with rubbish for days without collecting.Councils should not see fining as a revenue raising exercise.
Clean for Queen campaign
Clean for Queen campaign was started to celebrate Queens birthday .We took part in the campaign along with 15 volunteers.It was not easy to organize volunteers.First question was"what is in it for me".We had 3voluteers in a group and the responsibility was to clean bus stops,underground stations and selected roads.The project was successfully carried out but the public support was very poor.While we were cleaning people were throwing rubbish and cigarette butts in front of us without any hesitation.