This week’s blog was inspired by Manuela, whose litter-picking adventures I’ve been following on twitter. Please take a look at her tweets & blogs, give her a follow, say hello. Hopefully her passion for saving the environment will rub off on you and you’ll find yourself grabbing some bags and heading off on your own journey…

There and Back Again

My destination was a short stretch of the River Roding which links two incredibly busy roundabouts in East London. Walking along the bank of this river, you are never quite out of earshot of the roaring traffic. The landscape is somewhat industrial, with towering electricity pylons & concrete flyovers. And yet the Roding has a quiet dignity as it makes its way down to the Thames.

Armed with empty bags, my faithful Litterati app and the enthusiasm of someone determined to make a difference, I headed off to the bus stop. Of course, I couldn’t just walk past the litter en route and by the time I reached Roding Valley Park, I’d already picked up and binned 76 pieces of rubbish.

Once at the river, the enormity of the task sank in. Where graffiti-decorated pillars rose to support the concrete flyovers, there was a huge abundance of rubbish. I spent a while collecting bagfuls of glass bottles and dragging them back to a litter bin at the nearest bus stop. Alas, this was a task I could never complete. I decided instead to concentrate on plastic litter which was far more likely to blow into the water or trap & choke wildlife.

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After a couple of hours, I’d picked up 150 or so pieces of rubbish & the bags were getting too heavy to carry much further. It hadn’t been a difficult task, I’d enjoyed a pleasant walk along the river and I’d spotted 3 of my favourite birds (wren, teal & cormorant.)  My point being, anyone can do this. YOU can do this. Grab a bag and pick up some litter… in a park, on a beach, by a river, on your street… and collectively, we will make a difference.

Strolling back down my street, in dire need of a sit down and a cuppa, I picked up a final carrier bag full of rubbish. My own little corner of the world looked slightly less messy than it had that morning. And though I realise my own contribution can have little impact on a world full of rubbish, I also know it takes just one small spark to start a massive chain reaction.

Let’s stop complaining about all the litter and start picking it up.


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