Litter: Why we should all Love Clean Streets

Written by: Ian Blackburn | Published:

Ian Blackburn, founder of Love Clean Streets, muses over the issue of litter.

The other day, I was walking behind a young lady who was swigging her Coca Cola from a bottle and when she had finished drinking, she casually dropped it, just a couple of feet away from a bin.

Naturally, I picked up the bottle and put it in the bin.

The lady turned round and gave me a look of utter disgust, turned back around and carried on walking.

This got me thinking, why am I the one made to feel ashamed for picking up someone else’s litter? Surely she should be feeling embarrassed for carelessly dropping this on the floor. Perhaps my action was not natural, or even completely unacceptable?

Research by Keep Britain Tidy shows that people who are satisfied with the look of their local area are significantly more likely to feel safe there. Despite the importance people place on the appearance of their local area, over 2.5million pieces of litter are dropped on the streets of the UK every day.

Seven out of 10 people say that they would feel guilty for dropping litter. This is more than the number of people who would feel guilty about calling work with a fake illness to have a day off. So why do we still litter?

There has been a lot of talk around increasing fixed penalty notices given to people caught dropping litter, but by educating people to take responsibility for their own litter, for their benefit as well as the benefit of those they share public spaces with, fines aren’t needed as a threat.

When I came up with the idea of the Love Clean Streets app, I had one thing in mind: helping local residents make their own streets a cleaner, happier place to live.

By downloading and using the Love Clean Streets app, local people can take a picture of an environmental issue in their local area on their smart phone, and quickly and easily send this to their local authority to clear it up.

Littering should not be someone else’s responsibility and we need to change the mind set of generations who think this. If we all take responsibly for our own litter, everyone will benefit.

Then, perhaps like the young lady with the Cola bottle, none of us would feel the urge to drop litter next to the bin. Maybe we would feel disgusted with ourselves for doing so.

To find out more about Love Clean Streets and how the app could help you make your town a cleaner, happier place to live, visit

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