Council and community work together on the Big Merton Spring Clean

Merton’s street cleaning crews, councillors and residents came together this weekend, armed with litter pickers, rubber gloves and plastic sacks to give the borough a spring clean.

Merton Big Spring Clean Day

Leader of Merton Council Cllr Stephen Alambritis with Dan Goode of Merton Matters and fellow residents doing their bit for the Merton Big Spring Clean

Councillors teamed up with residents and members of anti-litter campaign group, Merton Matters, to give 10 areas across Merton an extra spruce up.

The Big Merton Spring Clean Day was an idea drawn up by Merton Matters, a group of concerned residents, and supported by the council. It coincided with a number of Merton Council initiatives following the publication of its anti-litter code earlier this year. The council is committed to cracking down on people who drop litter on Merton’s streets to keep Merton looking great for the majority of residents who want to look after where they live. As part of its war on litter, the council also teamed up with Love Clean Streets earlier in the year to make it easier for residents to report litter and fly tipping through the free Love Clean Streets smartphone app. And it has just completed its roll out of the gum and butt bins which should reduce the amount of gum and cigarette butts people drop on the street.

Merton Council cabinet member for environmental cleanliness and parking Councillor Judy Saunders said: “It was fantastic to see so many people who want to do something to help look after their borough. We know that the majority of people living and working in Merton want to look after the place. But there is a minority who persist in dropping litter and spoiling it for the rest of us. Every year we have to spend £5million on clearing litter that people have dropped as well as removing fly tips and resolving other environmental crimes. It’s time to call a stop to littering. We’re increasing our enforcement patrols and anyone caught dropping a sweet wrapper, cigarette butt or something that should go in the bin, will be fined £75. We want to keep Merton a place to be proud of and this was a great demonstration of the community wanting to work with the council to highlight the problems of littering and say to people they should respect the environment in which we all live and work.”

Merton Matters’ Dan Goode said: “The Big Merton Spring Clean Day really demonstrated how much can be done when residents and the council work together for the benefit of Merton. As a community, we removed a vast amount of litter in a very short time. The turnout and the result of everyone’s efforts was inspiring. People are standing up to those who needlessly mar our borough with their thoughtless behaviour. We’re pleased to hear the council will be taking a tough line on litter bugs. There’s no excuse for anyone to drop their rubbish on our streets.”

Photos of the day are on the council’s Flickr page.