When the first daily newspaper was published in London, around 1702, I’d bet my bottom dollar that it included at least one item about litter.
Rubbish being dumped on the streets is as reliable an occurrence as the sun going down, and nothing angers newspaper readers more than litter louts, or fly tipping.
Quite rightly so. How someone can claim to ‘not have time’ to take their empty crisp packet to the nearest bin is baffling. Why anyone would want to walk knee deep in the contents of a bin is beyond most people.
Sadly, in some parts of Sheffield it appears that they do. Walk up Abbeydale Road, for instance, and there are pockets of detritus dumped all along it.
Call me a pessimist, but now is the time to expect things to get much worse. For Sheffield Council has decided that the inexorable funding cuts will now swing at the street cleaning pot.
Manual litter pickers will be replaced with machines, cleaning in residential areas will be reduced, bins with sensors are to be brought in and roadside shrub beds taken out.
The council insists street cleaning standards will be maintained, but admits it may take longer to pick litter up, which seems to be a bit of an oxymoron.
There’s a conundrum here. On the one hand, should the council chuck millions of pounds in the bin to clear up after people who really should know better every single year?
And on the other hand, why should it come down to community volunteers to clear up the mess? What is the point of paying (ever increasing) council tax, if we can’t even have clean streets?
There isn’t going to be an official consultation on these cuts to street cleaning, and you can read the council’s reasons why on page 19.
So, take part in a time- honoured tradition and write a Telegraph letter about it instead.