Litter problems in Horsham

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LAST week I criticised district councillor Andrew Baldwin regarding his ill-considered remarks about the Sussex report of Bognor Regis. Having read Philip Circus’ stimulating piece (County Times November 3), my sympathy now goes out to Mr Baldwin as I now understand that he presides over Horsham district’s ‘Clean and Tidy Advisory Group’ which is responsible for litter prevention.

As a former campaign director of the Keep Britain Tidy Group, I know first hand of the problems he faces. To hear that the head teacher of a school which was surrounded in litter considered that it was demeaning for children to participate in an organised ‘litter pick’ comes as no surprise.

Never mind that children are some of the worst offenders when it comes to dropping litter, in our child-centred society, such a practical lesson in improving our environment is dismissed out of hand by teachers obsessed by health and safety regulations, also the dignity of their young charges.

From my experience, litter prevention is a long and demanding haul. When it comes to litter, we Brits are one of the most thoughtless, self-centred nations in the developed world.

As part of my campaign, I introduced what I termed, ‘environmental marketing’ which resulted in the now familiar ‘Tidyman’ logo and message being carried on most items of packaging.

Clearly the plea has been ignored by the public as quite often I spot a wrapper carrying the ‘Tidyman’ logo littering the pavement or lying in the gutter! This initiative was backed up by a nationwide heavyweight advertising campaign, coupled with an ambitious educational programme in schools. All to no avail.

Not a very encouraging message for Mr Baldwin save to say that in my opinion the council’s street wardens have a valuable role to play by imposing on the spot fines on those who repeatedly dispose of their unwanted bottles, cans, wrappers and cigarette ends without any consideration for others.

As regards children, they too deserve a stern warning and put on report. In these hard-pressed times, we simply cannot afford litter-strewn streets. The cost to our town’s reputation and prosperity is just too great.

ROBERT B. WORLEY

Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham