CROYDON COMMENTARY: Want to do your bit to help clean up the environment, while trying to avert even worse effects of climate crisis? Inspired by a Croydon-based activist, LEWIS WHITE has tried, but like Greta Thunberg, has had a predictable response from those in power
But it would be great if Lizzie could turn her attention to stopping litter blowing into the rivers in London, and turn the attention of Britain’s politicians, councils, water authorities and port authorities to take action to do the same on the tidal Thames.
On a number of visits to London’s South Bank and the Thames path, I saw plastic cups and bottles, and glass bottles and paper cups, being left on the top of the river wall by picnickers, many of whom could have walked a few metres to a litter bin. I also saw bins full, with rubbish left next to the bins on the paving.
I collected a lot of stuff from the top of the wall to stop it blowing into the river or on to the beach left at low tide. Looking down, there was huge amount of stuff that had been blown by the wind or had just rolled off the top of the wall.
The top of the wall has a simple metal rail, mounted on supports. The single rail does not stop any cans, bottles and takeaway containers from blowing underneath it. A slight breeze is enough – then they roll or blow into the water or onto the beach.
I realised that the only way of stopping most litter is for a better-designed railing, perhaps with a mesh infill, to be installed along the top of the floodwall.
I contacted Thames 21, Bankside Open Spaces Trust and the Port of London Authority and asked them if a better railing could be designed and funded to stop all this tourist-generated rubbish being blown in the beautiful Thames.
Who was responsible for stopping the pollution?
I asked, knowing the answer: no one.
I didn’t bother to try to call the cleansing authorities of Lambeth and Southwark councils, as I knew their answer would be along the lines of, “Our cleaning staff pick up the litter and take it away, and we have fewer staff and less money than we did 10 years ago.”
I did put the idea in as an idea when the London Mayor called for ideas to improve the environment.
Zilch. Nada. Nuffink.
My proposal was not even acknowledged. Yet it is entirely feasible, and would not be expensive.
Perhaps I need to dress up as Greta Thunberg and go walkabout with a few people dressed up as cans and bottles, to draw attention to the need for some joined-up thinking in London, along the Thames, to stop rubbish being blown into the river from wall.
More money for the councils, to allow them to employ more cleaning staff, to empty the bins before they overflow, and for more bins, is also necessary.
We get consultations, but words are cheap. The Romans had “Bread and Circuses” to keep the masses happy and in their place. We have “Ask London” websites and council apps.
All just more blah blah blah.
Thanks for that, Greta.
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