19 February 2018
Jesse’s Hereford Times column: Tackling litter

Herefordians were, I know, transfixed like the rest of the country last year by Sir David Attenborough’s astonishing second series on The Blue Planet.

In particular, his revelation that eight million tonnes of plastic finds its way into our oceans every year seized the public imagination—and I am delighted that the Government has moved quickly to ban the sale and manufacture of microbeads.

As the Prime Minister said, “In years to come… people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly.”

The massive earlier reduction in plastic bag sales shows what can be done. They have fallen by 83 per cent, equivalent to a massive 9 billion bags, since the Government introduced a 5 pence charge in

But what about litter? There are few things more anti-social—or better guaranteed to have steam coming out of the ears of the average citizen—than the sight of someone throwing food packaging out of a car, or casually dropping it in the street.

It is unsightly, unhealthy, bad for pets, wildlife and the environment and expensive to clean up—a direct cost imposed on society by a relatively small number of thoughtless individuals.

And it is something on which I have campaigned locally for a decade. I vividly recall organising a series of litter picks across the county before I became an MP. Cigarette butts are the worst: endless numbers of them, ugly as sin and all but impossible to pick up, even with the best litter-grabbers.

So it was great to join the Scouts last October on a clean-up of Castle Pool, and to see so many local residents working hard to keep the area free of litter. And to join Stuart Anderson and other friends doing the same with the Yazor Brook as well.

That is why I was so encouraged to read about the new “Stop the Drop” Litter Pledge campaign. This is a fantastic campaign organised by over 40 pro-active Herefordshire litter-picking groups and businesses, each committed to tackling the problem of litter in the local area.

I would encourage everyone to do their bit, pledge their support to the campaign and go out and join a litter pick in your local community.

To learn more about the Stop the Drop Campaign, and to sign up to the Stop the Drop Pledge, please visit 
www.herefordshire.gov.uk/stopthedrop or telephone 01432 383 449.