Officers from Merton Council have been out and about this week speaking to shoppers and commuters in Wimbledon town centre about the £80 fine that anyone caught dropping litter on Merton’s streets would have to pay. Further information was given about the detrimental effect of litter and the millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money the council has to spend each year on keeping the streets clean.
Leader of the council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, joined the officers outside Centre Court Shopping Centre, one of the busiest areas of Wimbledon, handing our stubby pouches to people who smoke, so they can safely carry their stubbed out cigarette with them rather than drop it on the pavement.
Officers have been touring the different town centres as part of the council’s Love Clean Streets campaign and its crackdown on people who drop their litter and fly tip on Merton’s streets. Speaking to people about the issue, the council has found that some people are surprised that a dropped cigarette butt constitutes litter which can result in an £80 fine.
Each year the council spends £5 million of the taxpayers’ money on clearing up litter and fly tips from the streets, money it would rather spend on its services for residents.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “We don’t like fining people, which is why we are making such a substantial effort to educate people about what litter is and its effect on the environment. People don’t always know that, if they drop their cigarette butt, they are littering and could be in line for an £80 fine. We take a zero tolerance approach to litter and therefore will not hesitate in fining anyone dropping litter on Merton’s streets. We will also prosecute anyone we catch fly tipping.”