We can all play a part to tackle this problem

The team at the Co-op reflect on the items they found while collecting litter in St Helier

Picture: GEORGE MARRIOTT (31355817)
Picture: GEORGE MARRIOTT (31355817)

AS a local responsible retailer, we are proud to be a part of our island’s community. That’s why, when we were asked by ecoJersey to take part in this year’s parish clean-up, we jumped at the chance to sponsor our island’s capital, St Helier.

As well as our flagship store, Grand Marché St Helier, the parish is home to several of our Locale shops so it was a natural choice for us to sponsor a parish we have so much connection with. But, with a busy parish, comes a lot of litter, as our volunteers discovered one sunny morning in June.

Armed with refuse sacks, litter-pickers and buckets of enthusiasm, Co-op volunteers joined St Helier officials and members of the public on a mission to make St Helier a cleaner and greener parish for all. In such a short time, our volunteers found an array of rubbish cluttering our streets from broken glass to bottle tops, cigarette butts to unwanted wrappers and even a curtain pole.

At the end of the event, our volunteers returned with sacks full of litter and a sense of achievement, knowing that they had helped to make a real difference in St Helier. In such a short time, there was an overwhelming amount of rubbish collected – rubbish that may have otherwise found its way to pollute our beautiful bays or be left to create an unsightly mess in corners of our town.

One thing that all the volunteers agreed on was that although they saw these streets often, being part of the Parish Clean-Up opened their eyes to the volume of rubbish in our town. Sadly, it is only when you are involved in a parish clean-up that you see the true extent the litter on our streets. It reminds us that, with some thought and effort, we all can play our part to help tackle a greater problem.

Thankfully, this is all we need; co-operation from each of us to help make our island a better place for everyone. We want to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who took the time and the effort to join us for our parish clean-up event in St Helier.

Lessons learned from litter-picking

Having joined the JEP and Co-op teams and volunteers for the St Helier clean-up, parish Constable Simon Crowcroft reflects on the experience

ON the last Sunday in June, some of the parishes took part in a JEP community initiative to tackle the Island’s litter problem.

The St Helier litter pick, sponsored by the Co-op, started in the Royal Square with Heather equipping us with all we needed before we set off around the town in search of rubbish. Here is what I learned from the exercise:

• St Helier’s cleaning teams do a terrific job: the town’s streets and precincts were remarkably clean for a Sunday morning, considering how untidy the town centre gets on a Saturday evening. The cleanliness of our streets is often remarked upon by visitors.

• Litter is no respecter of boundaries: most of the litter I collected was in areas that are just off the public highway – Cross Street, for example. If private lanes, entrances, lobbies etc are not kept clean by their owners, the litter that collects in them rapidly finds its way into the public realm.

• We are not winning the battle against cigarette litter: in spite of fewer people taking up the habit, there are still far too many discarded cigarette ends around. Some people seem to think dropping their butts in the gutter is acceptable but it isn’t. Fag ends are toxic and many find their way into the sea; those that don’t stay in the gutter.

• We need to invest in the best equipment available to enable our street-cleaning teams to tackle cigarette ends and chewing gum more efficiently. I am only a novice but trying to pick up a butt with long-handled tongs is not the best use of my time.

• We need to find a way of getting town pavements washed frequently in the summer to combat stains and spills.

• The majority of people care about their surroundings and do not drop litter in the first place.

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