Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Let's Go Outside: Safer Sex in Peterborough


It All Began Innocently Enough...

I take part in a couple of organised litter picks every month. One of these is always in the same location in Orton Waterville. It's always in the same location because no matter how much litter we clear the exact same amount always needs to be cleared again a month later.

The other litter pick is organised by Peterborough Green Party. We choose a different location each month. Sometimes we respond to residents' requests to pick a particular area, sometimes we clear an area spotted by one of our own team.

Milton Ferry Bridge in winter
Picture of Milton Ferry Bridge taken during the litter pick.
If you think our litter picks are all about muck you're only half right.


Ferry Hill

This month, on a bright but bitterly cold Sunday morning we gathered at Ferry Hill. Technically, Ferry Hill is in Castor, but you'll know it as 'the road at the back of Ferry Meadows' by the stunning Milton Ferry Bridge under which flows the River Nene. On a freezing cold January morning, this area looks particularly beautiful. The lakes in Ferry Meadows were frozen and the Nene was also dotted with chunks of floating ice. I can't think of anywhere more lovely than this. Hold onto that thought.

Ferry Hill is situated between Ferry Meadows and the A47 and because of this it attracts a particular type of litter. Who, you might be wondering, would drop litter at a treasured beauty spot. Well, you'd be surprised (and possibly offended. I write this post to raise awareness and I fully expect you to feel as disgusted as I do).

I took another photograph, this time pointing my lens to the ground below me.



A used condom on Ferry Hill
Your eyes do not deceive you. That is indeed a used condom.
I found four along one stretch of road.

Beer bottles and used condoms and their wrappers. I'm not here to preach about what people do in their spare time, but I am going to preach about the mess they leave behind. Using condoms is definitely GOOD. Dropping them on the floor after use, definitely NOT GOOD. Disgusting and unsightly, without a doubt. A health hazard, definitely. This was on the verge next to the road, in plain sight. Would you want to slip on the ice and fall face first onto that lot? No, neither would I. Would you want your toddler to pick that up? Or your dog? Discarded used condoms are a danger on so many levels. Please, if they are yours, dispose of them responsibly.

Disposing of them responsibly doesn't mean chucking them in a bush. Doing so may keep them away from humans but they will do untold harm to our precious local wildlife.

If you find a discarded condom, don't pick it up. Report it to the council immediately. The same goes for discarded needles. The number to call is 01733 747474 or use the My Peterborough app. This type of litter is very dangerous. It does need to be removed, but not by you. Never touch anything like that with your bare hands.



Posted by Julie Howell on Sunday, 22 January 2017


Team Effort

I can't say enough wonderful things about our team. Members of Peterborough Green Party and local residents spent two hours of their Sunday morning making an area of outstanding natural beauty beautiful again. You never hear us complain when we're on our litter picks, no matter how disgusting it gets. We dress appropriately and we just get on with it, come rain or shine. We appreciate all the people who stop to thank us, and we appreciate even more the residents who join us.

Peterborough Green Party litter pickers

Peterborough Green Party litter pickers

Peterborough Green Party litter pickers


Peterborough Green Party litter pickers


Peterborough Green Party litter pickers


Peterborough Green Party litter picker

Peterborough Green Party litter picker


A Pile Of (Your) Crap

As well as the aftermath of the previous night's activities we found a lot of fly tipped waste on Ferry Hill. This included dumped cans of engine oil, a television, and a vacuum cleaner attachment. If you've ever paid someone you don't know to take things to the tip for you this stuff may well be yours. Because this is the reality of fly tipping. Rogue traders who don't care about our community will simply drive to an area like Ferry Hill, dump a load of rubbish into the woods, and drive off. Please don't pay people to do this. It's hurting wildlife and it looks awful.

We collected 30-40 bags of rubbish on this litter pick, which is more than average. Ferry Hill is on a hill (the clue is in the name), so we couldn't pile all the rubbish in one place as it was too heavy to carry. These pictures give you an idea of what we cleared from one road.

Fly tip including a TV
Seriously?

Julie Howell by many bags of rubbish
To be frank, it stank.
Rubbish in the woods
Mixed fly tip. A bit of this, a bit of that.
Discarded shoe
One careless owner.
We found its partner in another bush further up the hill.

People drop this stuff on Ferry Hill and it's ruining it. If you're reading this and feeling pangs of guilt please resolve to take your litter home with you. We don't mind clearing litter that blows into the woods from the bins or litter that has been dropped accidentally. But this is deliberate and it is dropped and dumped at a rate that overwhelming council street cleaner services. Please take personal responsibility for your own litter and take it home.

Solution?

I've said it before, I'll say it again and I'll keep on saying it: fly tip amnesties. Choose a day, advertise it well, and put a skip in the community so residents can drop off their larger items without fear of fines of fees. Until we have workable fly tip amnesties in place this problem is likely to grow rather than get better. If you think I'm wrong, tell me, and join me on our next litter pick and judge for yourself.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Good morning. We are in an area of Peterborough today called Ferry Hill, which is just on the border between Peterborough and Castor. It’s on the Milton Ferry Bridge side of Ferry Meadows. It’s very cold. I don’t know how that’s affecting the camera. We’re doing litter pick. This is quite an active area in the night time, so I’m told. There’s a lot of rubbish as a consequence and the council doesn’t pick up a lot of it. But we’re also, as you can probably hear, by a very main road (my glasses are steaming up). Let me show you. Let me turn it around. There’s the road there, the A47. And you can see I’m standing in woodland and the sort of rubbish we’ve got in here has just been dumped. It’s been fly tipped. And there’s a lot of rubbish that’s been thrown from cars. I’m on my second rubbish bag now. Rubbish bags fill up very quickly here. It’s a beautiful area but unfortunately where you get people parking up you get rubbish. We’ll do a good clear up today but it’ll need clearing again very soon. It’s quite a difficult place to litter pick because there’s a lot of thorny branches. I’ve already cut my hand. I cut my hand pretty soon after I started but that’s okay. We just have to be very careful because they’re biohazardous waste here. It would be great if people took their rubbish home with them. Whatever you’re doing in this beautiful area let’s all just try and keep it beautiful.

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