Deposit schemes and litter picks could help Norwich's rubbish problem

Reader Ian Williams took these pictures of rubbish in Norwich last weekend

Reader Ian Williams took these pictures of rubbish in Norwich last weekend - Credit: Ian Williams

Rubbish, detritus, litter, clutter, muck, junk, trash, refuse, waste or garbage.

Whatever you call it, we (as a collective) city and county are not dealing with it considerately, intelligently, effectively and environmentally.

Let me start with the gateway to Norfolk, the A11.

It is a poor advertisement to the incoming visitor with verges in both directions groaning under the sheer volume of rubbish being deposited by users of the road.

Added to the waste, are the obligatory clutter of cones and road signs combined with a multitude of vehicle parts that have either dropped or been broken off.

Closer to home, just look around as you walk through your countryside, village, town and city - what do you see? Rubbish - is it a case of out of sight, out of mind, or no sense of pride for and in our environment?

No doubt readers across the county will have a sense of anger as hedgerow, dyke, field and meadow join in parks, green space and street in towns and city have a common thread of beer bottles, drinks cans, crisp packet, sweet wrappers, plastic bags, old tyres, nappies and, joining the endless list, face masks.

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Everything including the kitchen sink in fact.

Even in Norwich despite the lockdown, the city is starting to look unkempt.

Doorways littered with food containers, clothing, bedding, cardboard and windblown litter.

Strolling through the city centre, I noticed bins overflowing, no doubt in some cases, helped by gulls and other wildlife taking advantage by picking out those tasty morsels left by humans on the go.

But I was heartened further into my lockdown walk, by a rubber gloved-man armed with a black bin bag picking up litter, from the verge on his street.

It got me thinking how do we stop this epidemic of litter, where ever we go?

It starts with the individual, the school, the home, the community and the business.

So, what is complicated?

The government has got to legislate urgently that glass and plastic bottles drinks and food cans should be part of a deposit scheme, where a deposit taken when a plastic bottle, glass bottle or even a tetra pack is purchased, which is refunded when the empties are returned to a recycling machine.

The scheme already works in The Netherlands and other European countries so we do not have to re-invent the wheel. Plastic produced must also be the type that can be recycled.

We have to instil into our young people the point about taking rubbish home to recycle or to dispose of the rubbish responsibly.

A life long skill that will always be needed. Another lesson would be care for the community we all live in, which leads me to another point. That is for groups to come together to carry out mass clean ups. This is becoming more and more important as local authorities and government just don’t deal with the problem of rubbish regularly.

As an individual we can all play a small part. While out for a walk take a bag and pick up some of the rubbish and leave it in a bin. Councils can encourage this by having bag dispensers, litter picker stations and bins to take the collected rubbish.

Councils should educate, encourage or enforce tidy gardens, some which look like rubbish tips or scrap yards.

Bins should be placed by seats in parks or walks and if the rubbish is not sorted then bins should be divided into compartments for recyclables and waste.

Businesses should patrol their premise area and play their part in clearing the rubbish especially on industrial estates. Do these estates need to be stereotyped as being rough and dirty? What is on the other side of their perimeter fence?

This then is a call to arms, a rallying call for the community at all levels. Our goal is to make Norwich not only 'A Fine City” but also a clean city, a caring city and  somewhere where visitors want to come to - to enjoy.

We are rubbish at dealing with our rubbish – we do not have to be!