Talking trash

A load of rubbish was on the agenda at the council’s ‘Trashy Merton’ Litter Conference for schools, which was held in the council chamber at Merton Civic Centre earlier this month.

Schools in the borough were invited to send two students to represent their school at the conference, which aimed to find out young peoples thoughts on litter. Their views will be used when the council launches a campaign in 2005 to try and educate people that littering is wrong.

The conference involved a discussion session debating the reasons why people litter in Merton, and what can be done to prevent it. They also chose the poster that will be used for the campaign in 2005.

The students were able to participate in a series of votes using the council’s new interactive voting system. The following results were recorded:
– 43.5% thought providing more bins would not prevent littering
– 45.5% felt people dropped litter because they are too lazy to walk to the bin
– 72% thought there was a lot of litter in ‘some areas’ of Merton
– 69.5% though people should be fined if they drop litter.

They also came up with some good ideas to prevent littering:
– Provide more bins in schools to educate children from an early age to use bins
– Issue warnings first and then issue fines which increase if people continue to drop litter
– Have plain-clothed police officers patrolling to catch people littering
– Produce different posters for different age groups.

Merton’s cabinet member for environmental quality, Councillor Linda Kirby, introduced the conference. She said: “I am delighted that so many of our schools supported the conference. It was refreshing to hear the children’s views of why people litter and what can be done to prevent it. We hope their feedback will help us to fight litter in the borough.”

The conference was chaired by Merton Council’s head of street management, Alison Broom and was attended by Sergeant Bob Wemys, local police community support officer Robert Webb and the council’s enforcement officers.


Claire Bartlett
Senior Press & PR Officer
London Borough of Merton
020 8545 3327