For local residents volunteering their time for this year’s Great British Spring Clean around Rushlake Green, the exercise was a salutary reminder of just how many people think its acceptable to treat the countryside as a dustbin. The large heap of green bags, car parts and general detritus amassed for the Council to collect was a testament to the hard work put in by all those concerned – and tangible evidence of the scale of our local littering problem. This year’s litter collection, which involved around a dozen hi-vis clad volunteers wielding litter grabbers and distinctive blue bags, was ably coordinated by Rushlake Green resident Martin Green. After a series of delays, caused by the snow, the spring clean was successful completed at the end of March. Everyone who took part expressed very real concern about the sheer volume of rubbish thrown onto our verges and into our hedgerows. A straw-pole revealed the following list of the items most commonly discarded by the roadside:

Beer cans
Plastic bottles
Crisp packets and food wrappers
Paper coffee cups
Glass bottles
Car wheels and tyres

Unusual and surprising finds included: pairs of boots, shoes and flip-flops; a collection of used condoms; a smashed window and Council warning signs; a rusting gate and two bollards; and finally – brand new 4 litre flower pot (now re-homed and planted up). Many of those involved have asked for action to discourage littering of our local roads and paths. Suggestions included pair of stocks on the village green, new litter bins on local lay-bys and posters or signs of discouragement. The more practicable of these ideas are being investigated further but all suggestions and ideas welcome.