Green fingered youngsters throughout Sheffield are being urged by the council to give the city a clean sweep.
Young, budding environmentalists have been picking up litter from around their school to raise awareness of, and support, the council’s Clean Sheffield campaign.
In addition to the litter picking activity, staff from Streets Ahead and Phil the Bin spent the morning with 60 Year Two pupils from Phillimore Primary School in Darnall talking about how they can reduce the amount of litter in their local neighbourhood and recycle more.
The assembly featured facts and figures about litter and included how it can take a long time for some common items to decompose – an aluminium can take up to 200 years and a plastic coffee cup around 30 years, for example.
Approximately 300 tonnes of rubbish is collected by Streets Ahead each month from across Sheffield – enough to fill 20 double-decker buses.
While it’s the responsibility of Streets Ahead to collect litter from the highway and empty litter bins, everyone should take pride in their environment and dispose of their rubbish properly, either by using one of the 2500-plus litter bins in the city or taking their litter home.
Streets Ahead mascot, Phil the Bin, was on hand to guide the children through the litter pick, pointing out the plastic, paper and cans that had been dropped around the school and helping them to collect it using junior-sized litter pickers.
“What stood out for me was the enormous cost of picking up litter - £1billion a year is spent across the country.” Says Laura Tasker, a teacher at Phillimore Primary School.
“That’s money that could be invested in schools, not spent on picking up after people who drop their litter out of their car or in the street.
“The pupils thoroughly enjoyed their litter pick, managing to fill two large bags of plastic and cardboard from in and around the school. We have more activities planned involving pupils and their parents so that all of us are working together to keep our local community as litter-free and clean as possible.”
As part of the council’s Clean Sheffield campaign, individuals, schools and businesses alike are being encouraged to take pride in their community and not drop litter.
Cabinet assistant for environment and street scene at Sheffield City council, Councillor Karen McGowan, stressed the importance of being litter aware from a young age, working with schools through Streets Ahead, and added: “It’s fantastic to see these young kids taking a stance against littering and working together with the local community to encourage behaviour change.”