As the country emerges from Covid restrictions, people are more aware of litter than ever before. Council clearances have been cut back, while more people have been out and about, leaving litter as they go. More of us are beginning to understand the impacts of litter, not only on the environment but also on mental wellbeing and on wildlife. The Peterborough Wombles are tackling this issue head-on.
The Great British Spring Clean, starting in May, will help to deal with the problem. However, much more will remain to be done after it ends in June.
Consequently, a national ‘Womble’ movement has been growing, with people joining groups and clearing litter from wherever they find it. Facebook ‘Womble’ groups have sprung up in Northamptonshire (2,400 members in a couple of months), South Leicestershire (2,900 members), North Leicestershire (1,500 members) and many other places. Increasingly these groups are cooperating to exchange tips and information and to carry out joint litter picks.
Peterborough Litter Wombles
This April, three of Keep Britain Tidy’s Litter Hero Ambassadors – Fay Belham, Harry Machin and Kat Larissa Elwell – set up a Facebook group. Their aim is to clean up litter from all areas of Peterborough – streets, parks, woodlands, riverbanks, footpaths, cycle ways, hedgerows, underpasses and everywhere else – working in partnership with other voluntary agencies, local businesses and the council.
Peterborough has struggled for decades with an ongoing litter problem, many causes of which remain to be addressed. In particular there are many miles of footpaths and cycleways with low-lying hedgerows and underpasses where litter can accumulate, as well as acres of green spaces and parks.
The Wombles are engaging proactively with the council to link up with community groups and others who care about the places where they live. Although there is a stated commitment to Peterborough being an ‘Environment City’, the reality sometimes falls short of the political aspirations. There is clearly a need for volunteers to supplement the council’s stretched resources.
There are active volunteer groups and individual litter pickers all over the city. So there is a challenge to bring these people together and coordinate their efforts. This is a role that Peterborough Litter Wombles aims to fill.
How you can get involved
The group needs volunteers – the more the better – to help clear Peterborough of litter. You can volunteer both where you live and more widely across other parts of the city.
Anyone is welcome to join in the litter picks, which are shown under ‘Events’ on the Facebook page. And you do not need to be an experienced litter picker. The group provides litter picking sticks and bags, along with any advice that may be needed. Most events last for between one and two hours, but people can dip in and out for as long as they want.
In addition, the group encourages members to set up events of their own. Or they can ‘nominate a grot spot’ for the group to assist with clearing. In its first few weeks the group has already cleared sites in Stanground, Orton Centre and Dogsthorpe. And they are scheduling more places every week.
You can join the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/peterboroughlitterwombles or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to nominate a grot spot that needs clearing.