Along with concerns around traffic, parking, speed of vehicles, potholes and overgrown hedges, which people regularly speak to me about, is the issue of litter within the parish and particularly around Woolton Hill, where we have the highest concentration of people and ‘visitors’. Consequently, it was a great opportunity for me recently to accompany the parish ‘Litter Warden’, Patricia Barnes, on one of her routes and find out a little more on what is involved as she deals with the litter which is discarded along our pavements and tossed in verges.
Patricia is paid by the Parish Council and has an ‘8 square mile patch’ across the whole parish. However, the majority of litter is collected around Woolton Hill. Indeed, on a walk we both made, within just over an hour, Patricia had filled a black bag of rubbish.
Patricia, works 10 hours a week in all weathers, will walk between 12 and 15 miles a week and covers the whole parish over an 8 week period, although the more ‘litter heavy’ areas are covered frequently.
It was soon apparent when talking with Patricia that she is passionate about keeping litter off our streets and her care about the natural world and life. An example Patricia gave me was when she came across a live deer fawn surrounded by litter and how shocking this was. I have included this picture and you can see the poor fawn towards the top of the photo and cans etc surrounding it.
The worst part of the job? Not as you may think, ‘the wet and cold weather’ but unfortunately, dog mess and broken glass, which have been left by people. .
How can we all help? The obvious is never to drop litter (including cigarette butts) and always clear up when walking dogs, but we can all do our bit by safely picking up litter items when we see them and putting them in our own bins.
Also, when you see Patricia, introduce yourself, say ‘hello’ and let her know our massive appreciation of what she does.