'We've all got a part to play': Council bosses push new plan to get Barking and Dagenham sparkling
PUBLISHED: 10:23 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 24 October 2019
Council bosses have been out getting their hands dirty to push the authority's new strategy to tackle litter in the borough.
Leader Darren Rodwell and other councillors donned gloves and took up litter pickers on October 23 to try and persuade residents to take matters into their own hands when it comes to rubbish.
The new campaign, called "Cleaner Barking and Dagenham", aims to convert community spirit into street cleaning power.
"I have been with residents before doing this," said Mr Rodwell.
"Residents have been saying, we want to be more proactive in changing our environment.
"[It's] just to keep our local area tidier."
There were six events across the borough on Wednesday, October 23, including at Valence Park and the Keir Hardie Estate. The effort saw around three tonnes of waste brought off the streets, according to a council weigh-in.
Mr Rodwell said he went litter picking with residents when they got in touch about problem rubbish this summer, before the launch of the new campaign. He added it was good to see civic pride: "It's us saying as a council saying we want to support this initiative.
"It's well over 100 people who have come out to do some litter picking [today].
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"Most people in the borough want to respect the area and want a clean place to live.
"When I was a young man growing up here, residents used to clean their streets, not just in front of their homes."
For its part, the council said it has invested £10million in new cleaning vehicles and lends out gloves, bags and litter grabbers so people can clean-up roads themselves.
Council chief executive Chris Naylor said: "We've all got a part to play to keep the borough clean. We're playing out part by investing in new equipment."
Some of the older trucks had trouble operating on hotter summer days, he said. July 25 this year set a new record for the UK's hottest day at 38.8C.
Mr Naylor commented on the day's litter picking: "Sometimes we have to lead from the front with these things.
"We're out doing our bit today, motivating people and showing a couple of hours' work can make a real difference."
He added: "It isn't the council that drops litter."