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Breakfast Monday, 30 September, 2002, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Dirty Britain
A litter bin
Police are demanding £500 to back litter patrols
Now if you're old enough to remember the heyday of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign - you should be hanging your head in shame today.

A new survey by the people who ran the campaign has found we're still a nation of litterbugs - with each of us dropping just under half a tonne of rubbish a year.

Breakfast was live in Manchester: one of the few places where the survey found the streets are getting cleaner: the BBC's Kevin Bocquet spoke to Geoff Fisher from the council.

The BBC's Tom Heap has been looking at the report, and said:

Each of us on average drops just under half a tonne of litter every year. This works out as 25 million tonnes of rubbish making the country look a mess and costing a fortune to clear up. Changes in the way we live seem to be making the problem worse. More packaged food is eaten on the streets, more of us chew gum and the authors of today's report claim we've lost the Keep Britain Tidy philosophy saying we're 'too ignorant to use a bin'.

There are also some surprising findings - the most widespread source of commercial litter is elastic bands dropped by postmen.

Poor planning of cleaning and refuse collection is making the problem worse, and street sweeping is failing to collect all the dust and soil allowing weeds to grow. Left unchecked this can crack the paving.

But its not all the councils fault. The emerging street café culture and more signs on the pavement mean it's harder to clean up. It's like trying to vacuum a carpet cluttered with furniture.

The report points out what can be achieved by determined local government. Six years ago Manchester was bottom of the tidiness league. But now they've tackled graffiti, fly posting, and appointed wardens to issue litter fines. Making the North-West the bets performing region.

We have recieved many emails on this subject. Below is a selection.

I live in the countryside and we have people drive out especially to dump anything from washing machines, furniture and garden waste, always amazes me how they make a special trip but cannot make one to a local waste site. We should be like Sngapore anyone who drops litter is fined a £1000 and made to do community service cleaning it up
Jane Payne

It used to be that returning from abroad I looked forward to the experience - no more! , my heart sinks!. Compared for example to Dubai, Britain is a Filthy, Dangerous ,and Depressing place, worthy of the epithet, Third World. I look forward to retiring far away from the accumulating dross,that permeates this polluted land.
David Bonner

As an individual I try to do my bit to keep my neighbourhood at Waterloo tidy, but its an uphill struggle when the Council is working against you. A well-known American burger joint and chain coffee store recently opened up at the bottom of the station. Since then litter has got out of control and no-one seems to want to make the companies in question clean it up or change their packaging. There are hardly any bins locally and those that exist are full to overflowing by midday. There are no dog waste bins. There are no street-sweepers or dog wardens. We can't expect people to develop a culture of respect for their communities when it's so clear penny-pinching government and greedy business don't care. We can't teach young people to use the bins when there is so much packaging to throw away and nowhere to throw it.
John Kennedy

The main road A2 from Blackwall tunnel to the M2 in Kent is a total disgrace with litter which has been there for months all alongside the road. There has been no attempt to clean, but money has been found for numerous speed cameras to be installed.
Mike Golsby

Although the dropping of litter is undeniably a huge problem, it is not eased by the lack of litter bins in major towns or cities. This is presumably due to the fear of terrorist attack. The potential targets tend to be tourist attractions where people congregate and the problem just increases. Similarly many railway stations do not have adequate facilities to dispose of/recycle the litter generated by their many cafes/food outlets.
Vee Pollock

Why do smokers treat the world as one gigantic ashtray? They also always seem to buy cars without ashtrays so that they have to throw everything out the window?
Roger Nash

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12 Jun 02 | Scotland
30 Nov 01 | England
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