The Spring Clean, part of the Great British Spring Clean promoted by Keep Britain Tidy, was originally organised for 2nd to 4th March but had to be postponed due to snow. The number of volunteers was slightly reduced because of this as the new date coincided with Mothering Sunday. Nevertheless we had 58 volunteers in total including members of Woodbridge Deben Rotary, Woodbridge Lions, Transition Woodbridge, Woodbridge WI, a member of Farlingaye School staff and his family and a student from Farlingaye and many others. This was the third year of this event in Woodbridge.
Posters for the event were printed by Woodbridge Town Council and it was advertised in the free press. Equipment was provided by Suffolk Coastal Norse.
We met for 7 sessions and picked around 7 different locations in and around Woodbridge including –
- the length of the town side of the A12,
- all the car parks,
- most of the children’s play areas, (Elmhurst Park, Kingston Fields, Castle Street, Anni Healey Close, Fen Meadow)
- several of the town’s open spaces, paths and many streets
Between us we picked a LOT of rubbish! We picked into 2 different bags, one for recyclable litter – plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, metal cans and ring pulls. Non-recyclable litter went in another bag. We also collected many glass bottles and these were put into bottle bank skips at the end of our sessions. Hopefully the recyclable glass and plastic bottles and metal drinks cans will be recycled and all the other litter will go to be incinerated to produce electricity.
Types of litter collected included
- cigarette ends -the most numerous item, (filter tips are made of tiny plastic fibres, full of toxins when discarded)
- food and drink packaging - sweets and crisps packaging, disposable coffee cups both at the side of the road and near coffee bars, polystyrene food trays, straws from drink cartons, ring pulls from cans, drinks cans, bottles both glass and plastic, beer glasses
- polythene and polystyrene packaging, paper and cardboard
- a large quantity of plastic cable ties, thought to have been used to hold up advertising banners at the Martlesham roundabout, Ipswich Road
- cigarette packs,
- bags of dog poo
- cigarette lighters,
- car wheel trims etc.
- We found one example of fly tipping - in Castle Street.
On the A12 a number of signs advertising events such as the Theatre in the Forest were retrieved from the hedge. Signs like these have been found each year.
From our experience of Spring Clean Woodbridge the town needs more litter bins, especially near schools, in car parks and in open spaces,( as recommended in a previous report) and also more dog poo bins to cope with the growing number of dogs. It would appear more regular emptying of litter bins and dog poo bins is needed and there was a serious problem at the bottle banks where the skips were full and very many bottles had been left around the skips. I understand there was a problem with the bottle bank skip lorry at the time and also the snowy weather had disrupted collection of rubbish but full and overflowing skips and bins have been seen at other times.
Several people pointed out specific ‘black spots’ for litter. These included the following –
- on the verges of the A12 and Ipswich Road near the roundabout
- behind the toilets in the Community Hall/Station car parks
- adjacent to the ladies’ toilets in Theatre Street
- the ‘gardens’ on either side of the toilets at the top of Brook Street
- Castle Street open space – a lot of drink cans, bottles in the bushes
- at the library - around the steps, the ramp and at the side, and in the car park. Drinks cans, bottles, coffee cups and takeaway food trays are frequently left here and there is no bin
- the pathway up the side of Oak Lane car park behind the shops up to Costa Coffee
Now that smokers cannot smoke on the premises of where they work it seems that they go behind the office, shop, pub, restaurant or club to smoke and frequently discard their cigarette ends on the ground in what is often a public space but there is no bin provided. We found several examples of this with very many cigarette ends.
There are also problems of litter at the side of the railway both near the station and between the Kingston Fields play area and the railway line. This litter is on railway land but quite visible. Also there is a considerable amount of litter in the water course at the back of the Community Hall and this could accumulate and block the grating and cause flooding.
On the positive side, I must mention the many people who regularly, throughout the year, go around various parts of town picking up other people’s rubbish. Compared with many other places Woodbridge does not have a serious litter problem but it certainly does have litter and without those people it would have a great deal more.