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Litter is a big bug-bear of mine – the cost to clean it up, the fear it engenders in people, the detrimental effect it has on our environment. I am immensely proud of my country but, like most people, I get a sinking feeling when I see the mounds of cigarette butts, piles of empty food wrappers and dented cans strewn along our roadsides, in our parks and outside our homes

We live in a beautiful country but the sad fact is that litter is making our once green and pleasant land a dirty and expensive place to be. It costs £885 million to clean up the rubbish on our streets, a staggering amount at a time of cuts. That’s our money, which could be better spent on other things. It’s such a waste.

I remember a time when littering was taken very seriously. If I had dared to do it when I was growing up, anyone in the street, a shopkeeper or bus driver, would have told me it was wrong, just as much as my parents; everyone felt responsible. We need to get that mindset back – you just don’t drop litter.

This is where Love Where You Live comes in. The campaign, launched by Keep Britain Tidy, businesses, government and voluntary groups, is key to inspiring everyone to get back that feeling of pride in our country, to think about where they live and take responsibility for their own rubbish, in order to help reduce the amount of litter on our streets.

Companies including McDonald’s, Wrigley and Imperial Tobacco have already invested in the campaign. They acknowledge that there is a problem, that their products end up dumped on our streets, and have put their money where their mouth is to play a role in cleaning up the litter caused by their customers.

People, however, need to accept that litter is everyone’s responsibility.  When you buy a can of pop or a packet of crisps it becomes your responsibility. You don’t rent the can until you’ve finished with it. You have bought it and it is down to you to dispose of it correctly – to find a bin or take it home with you.

Love Where You Live sums up perfectly how we can all make a difference, whether you are an individual or community group, a local authority, small business or multinational corporation.

From the very small action of people simply taking responsibility for their own litter and using a bin, through to businesses, manufacturers and councils making it easy for people to do the right thing, every one of us can make a difference to clean up our streets and restore pride to our local areas.

Love Where You Live is all about taking responsibility and making a positive change. Start with your street, or even just keeping the immediate area outside your home clean. Get together with other people to get rid of the litter that’s clogging up your street, your park or outside your workplace - neighbours, friends, colleagues – a small gesture can make you feel like you live in a better environment.

I actively try to promote the anti-litter message to my family and the best way to do this is get stuck in and do something about it. My children are avid litter-pickers and as a family we regularly clean up around where we live and play.

It is absurd that people who drop litter can abuse their environment in this way. It is time for everyone – from the big brands to local businesses, from government to local councils, from me to you to our neighbours and friends - to start showing that we love where we live.

I Love Where I Live – I hope you all will to.

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Written by Kirstie Allsopp   
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 11:43
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 13:52


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