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Neston's Activist Pensioners

Author: Jennifer and Bob Scholey Published: 1st April 2021 11:31

It is widely known, since Blue Planet 2, that plastic is polluting the oceans in huge quantities, but how does it get there? Well, we have a good idea how some of it gets there in Neston!

During the past year we, as pensioners in our 70s, have been walking and cycling locally from Parkgate for exercise as lockdown restrictions allow. It took a while, but eventually we became so disgusted with the expanse of litter lining the verges of many of our rural roads and lanes that we decided to do something about it.

Litter picking by bike

Sometimes walking with rucksack, litter picker and a few second-hand supermarket bags, and sometimes cycling with 2 panniers each we started to collect it from the worst areas. Since the beginning of February we have collected 85 of these bags full of glass, plastic bottles, aluminium cans and general waste. Over 75kgs of glass and 13kgs of mixed plastic bottles and aluminium cans have been sent for recycling.

In some places less than 100m of road produces more than our 2 bikes with panniers can carry. These are the plastic bottles and cans, together with plastic packaging and snack wraps which blow around the countryside, decorating the hedges and landing in rivers where they soon end up in the ocean.

Sorted and ready for recycling

Where is all this litter coming from, you might ask. In our opinion most of the general waste, plastic bottles and cans are a mix of escapees on a windy bin day, items which blow off badly covered skip lorries and pickup trucks, items dropped by walkers and, the majority, items thrown from vehicle windows.

The glass tells a different story of people walking the rural lanes (or sitting in lay-bys) with a bag full of booze discarding the empties as they go along. Often we find the bag, multi-buy packaging and all of the bottles one after the other! The biggest surprise has been the quantity of this glass thrown into the hedge bottom; beer bottles, wine bottles, spirits bottles, and not all of them empty.

Many people, both walking and in cars, have stopped to thank us for cleaning up and it is nice to be appreciated. But our reason for doing it is so that when we walk or cycle we can admire the views and enjoy the wildlife instead of only noticing the litter.

Wouldn't it be so much better if it was never dropped in the first place!


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At 12:22 on 1st April 2021, merrymac commented:
Hi Jennifer and Bob, I too am a local environmental activist, cycling Senior who believes, "Think globally, act locally". May I join you please? Text me on 07522 919974
Rob Ward
At 10:24 on 5th April 2021, Rob Ward commented:
Well done! It is sometimes disheartening to think that everybody else is dropping litter, and you are the only one picking it up. A lot of people do pick up litter - Parkgate Society, Neston Civic Society and Sustrans all organise litter picking in non-Covid times, and quite a few people do it on their own. My biggest surprise is that some people put dog droppings in a plastic bag, and then leave it behind, or hang it in a tree.
I suspect other people will read your article and will be enouraged to do what you are doing.
I hope other people will be encouraged to do their bit.
At 16:51 on 6th April 2021, collierman commented:
Well done and thanks to all who help ameliorate the disfigurement to the environment caused, in large measure, by those amongst us who have little if any regard for their surroundings. It is clear that attempting to ‘educate’ these litter louts is failing and the imposition of sterner measures for offenders is called for. However, local authorities could do more - walk around Neston on ‘bin day’ and you cannot fail to be unimpressed by the number of recycling boxes which are piled high and lid-less, their contents just waiting to be distributed on the prevailing winds. Are residents unaware that, should lids go astray (and presumably adding to the plastic waste elsewhere) replacements can be ordered online? And how about a more determined attempt by the authorities to ensure that the roadside litter bins get emptied before they, too, disperse their contents to the surroundings - the bins along Quayside and the Dee foreshore are often overflowing before they get emptied.
At 20:19 on 6th April 2021, merrymac commented:
Completely agree Collierman about green box lids blowing away, spreading their contents down the road. If anyone needs a house brick to weigh them down, I have plenty spare; just DM me here

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