DO NOT LEAVE LITTER ON THE LANDSCAPE.
Stringent action is called for in order to deal with the immense problem of litter within our communities. I, Rob Jones, am but one person trying to do my bit to address an immense problem and I know there are other like-minded people as well. An old mate Darren Jefford-Baker has joined me on several of my many garbage management outings. I have filled up several hundred bags and reported them for collection by the council. I have also reported fly-tipping where lorries have emptied out their dodgy contents in or on top of the valley.
One evening Darren and I collected 21 bags in a relatively small area of Tonypandy and Clydach Vale. On my own I have gathered up as many as 10 bags rammed full of rubbish in just one day.
Let’s hope that more folk can follow the quest to keep our region and other areas both clean and tidy and hopefully progress can be made We need more than the limited number of council employees employed to gather garbage or the band of trusty volunteers to keep on top of this plight. Society was never like this when I was a child.
There is a group called the Rhondda Litter Pickers and I worked closely with them to organise a litter pick on a boiling hot summer morning. It was so pleasing that over a dozen people gave up their time and worked hard for a few hours collecting 30 bags across many streets and roads in upper Tonypandy and Clydach Vale. It was such an uplifting experience to witness the group working both as individuals and together to make our locality look so much better. Nice, well-presented streets, paths and lanes and a pride in the place we call home. This is how things should be but sadly too many people do not care.
Fast food deposits are thrown from cars, cans and bottles are tossed to the floor, sweet packets and crisp wrappers float on rivers, building waste is thrown in back lanes, dog poo bags are hung from trees, lovely beaches are discarded with debris – but, why?
Only those who dump can answer and they are shameless as their thoughtless motions cause distress, despair and disappointment.
Those who throw litter do not realise that there is a cost to local residents within their council tax as that rubbish will have to be picked up. The bigger cost is £1 billion pound a year to the UK government cleaning up the trash and the problems it can cause. Those costs come back to us ordinary people in our taxes. So everyone who throws their trash away is causing a cost – even to them and their families!!! Crazy!!! Just find a bin or a bag to put out for a council collection or you can take certain items to the household sites e.g. Dinas or Treherbert. It is free!
After a spell of covid I decided to take some daily exercise with a short stroll around my neighbourhood and in doing so I would try and do some good for the community. I put a mask on and armed myself with a litter pick and a selection of bags. I was quite proud to put together my first bag of rubbish and as a result witness the area to the rear of my Tonypandy home looking nicer. This process has developed into more ventures as there is a dire need to address what is a plague…..
As time went by a pattern started to emerge that the cleaning up process was a daily requirement. I try my best but such measures are not always possible and in the winter this call is even more challenging in the cols and wet while in the summer the blistering heat is tough.
I am lucky that I do not have an unsightly, overgrown weed laden lane to the back of my property as my home backs on to another street. However, any open space sadly invites litter louts and environmentally sound residents suffer a foul fate. Further research has proven that lanes behind homes are magnets to anti-social behaviour which includes excessive activities that leaves a trail of trash in its wake. Vapes, needles, drug debris, cigarette packets and alcohol bottles and cans are awash in our back lanes and please children out there do not go near any of this stuff, get an adult to report it to the Rhondda Cynon Taff council or whoever your local councillor may be.
Removing dangerous materials is not the job of volunteers, this is the task for experts who have the right equipment.
It is quite clear that a lot of folk who consume energy drinks do not have the energy to take the empty vessels to a bin or even home with them. Fast food outlets are also a means to rapid rubbish as the streets are awash with the remains of an eating experience. Fast from the store and fast to the floor!!!! This world of waste spreads far and wide from our main roads to battered back lanes which confirm that an out of sight, out of mind dumping seems to be common practice.
Nonetheless, it is not just our more urban regions but the beauty of our rural landscapes that are ruined. Why take a drinks on to our picturesque peaks, then consume the fluid and leave the cans behind?
Why smash a bottle in a forest? Why try to burn tins that are not flammable and leave a charred mess? Why leave a used barbecue kit in the woods? Why carry a bag of rubbish on to our hills and toss it in to a bush? Why use the land of our wildlife to throw dangerous items?
There are no appropriate answers because this behaviour is wrong!
I found a metal wheelbarrow on the mountain and somebody had tried to set it on fire. Why do such a stupid thing? Can this item burn? The fire did not take to the wheelbarrow but it spread as grass was dry. The area around is now black and firefighters were called out to put out nearby flames. A nasty smell was left and a nice area is now an eyesore. The public has to pay for firefighters and this cost comes out of our taxes. So, once again if you see somebody starting a needless fire this action will mean money to your family!!! Life is expensive enough without extra charges which could be avoided!
The above negatives and many other questions need to be dealt with and education is key. That is why I have written this account. We need to prevent these annoying occurrences becoming the norm.
How come the fall out of a meal from down below in a town ends up spread across ground up high on the hills?…This should not happen!
The countryside is the habitat of wildlife and we are lucky to share it with them and humans have no right to disrupt this terrain with our uncaring behaviour. Respect other people, respect other life forms.
Are we coming up with answers? Some folk try their best, but it is a huge task. More bins can help those who wish to deposit their debris and more clearances of these facilities are called for, but learning about litter is central to the cause. Council officers must view grot spots, react accordingly and not allow for masses of mess to mount up. However, far more consideration must be applied by the garbage guilty. This is a permanent problem that needs immediate intervention.
Prevention before cure! Stop bad actions happening because dealing with these situations after they have happened costs a lot of time, energy, money and inconvenience. Arrange organised litter picks and increase involvement from outlets where the offending merchandise comes from. Get those fast-food restaurants to get busy protecting the environment! They are making plenty of money, so pay attention!
It may not be the direct fault of the store selling the stuff as it is their customers who are to blame – but, a show of strength from the sellers displays concern that it is not just about the piles of profit coming in but the masses of materials going out. For this paper, cardboard and plastic packaging is scarring our valleys and spreading even further afield as motorists throw their unwanted car contents out of the window.
Take a drive up the tourist magnet that is the Bwlch mountain and savour in its scenery but also pay attention to the roadside rubble that is ruining the appeal of this awesome attraction. I have stopped the car or even gone on my bike and collected rubbish and on sometimes a bin has been near but people have still just tossed their trash to one side. One of my encounters was a field full of over one hundred used nappies! Horrible! Nappies can be picked up by the council outside people’s homes on a weekly basis. These poo packages are taken away in special pink bags which can be obtained with a phone call or email to the council. Taking this straightforward step is far easier than driving to a mountain and chucking out smelly, stinking, soiled stuff.
Ych a fi!
It is not just the Bwlch, it is everywhere! It is not just the roads and lanes, there is unnecessary junk awash in our localities and food plus drink accessories are to the fore but I have found all sorts of junk. There are building materials, the remnants of bonfires, old electrical appliances, car parts, damp clothes and who knows what?!? Some of it is buried deep in the weeds in those dark and desperate rears to our streets and there is little or no interest in these places. However, I have dived into the dark and desperate in an attempt to tidy trash that may prevent a plant from growing or could cause grief for an animal.
Then there are the countless unbagged and bagged remains of dog excreta because that is another galaxy of the grotesque. Hanging from trees with the added debit of a foul odour. In one lane I found a shopping bag full of smaller bags of dog mess and it was vile. TRULY VILE! There are dog bins, use them and do not make our area a dog loo!
In one busy 10-week period of litter picking mostly as a solo entity I mustered up 170 bags of mucky, murky and morose materials. This mass of mess was reported to the council and later was picked up and headed to a rightful destination. That refuse that ruins our region could have found its way to a bin or a weekly council collection without the need to scoop it up from a byway hedge or a highway edge.
There are the obvious contenders of cans and bottles, sweet wrappers and food packaging through to the bizarre nappies that were spread far and wide.
I work in the valleys, pay my council tax while doing the litter picking as a good turn. I am not claiming to be a hero but if more people can be alerted to the harm being done by waste across our landscape and action is taken to cut this trend then it is a positive for us all. However, 170 is a true statistic which and a huge number! Such a score once again concludes that we have a major issue on our hands.
Many decent persons in our communities deserve a cleaner and more organised locality. Grab a litter picker and some bags and do your bit – no matter how small or large. You can make our world a better place. It is sad to say that those who offend and do the wrong thing may not change their ways, but if such throw away behaviour can be nipped in the bud – hopefully, those who do their dirty deeds may become less.
We have suffered enough as the pandemic took its toll, the cost of living has become very expensive and it is now time to get this planet earth show back on the road as a gleaming globe not a terrible tip! We know that our valleys are spectacular and let’s keep them that way. It is another day and time has come to get out there and fight the blight.
There is so much rubbish that can find a new identity and be re-used and in turn help save the planet. Instead of being destructive with our rubbish we can be creative! Keep Wales tidy and keep Wombling folks!
Check out The Wombles: www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/anniversaries/february/the-wombles
Soft plastics e.g. crisp and sweet packaging, bread bags, frozen food wrappings, cling film, shopping bags and bottle signage are not recycled by Rhondda Cynon Taff Council but there are bins at a variety of supermarkets where these materials can be taken e.g. Asda, Aldi, Co-op and Tesco. From these drop-off points the soft plastic gets sent off to be turned into something new. Check out: www.bpf.co.uk/recycling/where-can-i-recycle-my-plastic.aspx There are more useful recycling details for the disposal of blister packs for tablets and a future for pet food, crisp, nut and snack packaging. Go to: help.uk.terracycle.com/hc/en-gb/articles/ 8369874017677-How-can-I-recycle-my-empty-medication-blister-packs- Items such as old plastic garden furniture, electrical items, and toys, can be reused by either donating them to a charity shop or selling them. Your household waste and recycling centre may also accept these items. Just realise that plastics can take hundreds of years to disintegrate and a lot of stuff ends up filling our oceans full of ugly waste that gets caught up in nature and destroys the habitat of sea life while also ending up taking lives within this monstrous community. Please have a look at: wwf.org.au/blogs/the-lifecycle-of-plastics/ Not only could this material end up in the ocean, but it can take hundreds of years to break down – if at all. Look at these examples: A plastic bag – take 20 years to disintegrate Plastic bags pose one of the greatest impacts to ocean wildlife. They only make up a small part of our litter, but they break up into smaller and smaller pieces – having devastating impacts on sea creatures. Here are more dangers below and how long it takes for these items to vanish:
Takeaway coffee cups – 30 years
Plastic straws – 200 years
6 pack plastic rings – 400 years
Plastic bottles – 450 years
Plastic cups – 450 years
Disposable diapers – 500 years
Coffee pods – 500 years
Plastic toothbrush – 500 years
Many items can be re-used instead of being a death trap for animals or a blight on our landscape. There are some clever persons who turn garbage in to gifts, rubbish into rewards and trash into tremendous ideas! We do not have to go far to find a project that adapts old plastic debris. In the Rhondda, a special recycling scheme called Soaring Supersaurus is based in Penrhys. This valley initiative finds creative ways to develop a second life for traditionally hard-to-recycle plastics at a community level.
The mission at Soaring Supersaurus is to unite individuals and local businesses in the Mid to Upper Rhondda Valleys around the issue of plastic pollution. The group inspires people to take action themselves through a donation scheme where anyone can drop off end-of-life plastics to be recycled into new and unique products. Recycling workshops help engage and share knowledge with communities.
Through inclusive art workshops, this business inspires participants to redefine their perspective on plastic waste and its potential uses. Art can connect us through creativity without barriers and evolve our way of thinking and how we view the world. Valued partnerships with local businesses provide an opportunity to see their plastic waste transform into new useful things whilst diverting plastic from landfill sites – where most of our rubbish ends up to get destroyed at a great financial cost.
I take my bottle lids to Soaring Supersaurus at a drop off point at the Parc & dare Theatre in Treorchy – but more types of plastic including butter/margarine containers are also now required. From here their smart people turn this plastic waste into jewelry, bowls, coasters, keyrings and more. Please collect those lids and have a look at the website: www.soaringsupersaurus.com
Young people are the future of the planet and if you can adopt and adapt a common-sense attitude the world will be a better place to live in. Do the best for your family and friends, spread the messages of this story of looking after litter, protecting the planet, restoring the Rhondda and keeping Wales as wonderful.
Help yourself, help family, help friends, help others, help the globe!
Our future is less litter, the future is more glitter! Shine on – be a doer not a dumper! Please make a positive contribution to your world – for it is your world! Please look after your planet! Please! YOU CAN DO IT!