Litter picking in Ystrad again

On Friday, Larraine and I took a walk around Gelli and Ystrad to meet local business people and find out what are the issues they have. It was a very interesting couple of hours, we found out about a number of issues, and ended the morning with a delicious panini lunch in “The Galed“.

One of the issues raised, by a member of staff in the tanning salon in Ystrad, was the issue of dog mess and litter on the patch of ground between the salon and the bookmakers.  I looked closely at the area for the first time, and was horrified at the amount of litter that was there.

I resolved that I would don my Keep Wales Tidy ‘Litter Champions’ hat again over the weekend and clear some, if not all, of the litter, so on Sunday afternoon, I grabbed my litter picker and headed to the area.

Within minutes of starting picking litter up I was joined by a very enthusiastic little assistant, 6 year old Jacob, who lives in a nearby street.  After a little while, Jacob asked if he could bring his friend to help as well, and so we were joined by Josh, and we all took it in turns with the litter-picker, with the boys being very enthusiastic, and mostly very democratic, about sharing it (two turns each!  It slowed me down a lot, but they were really good fun to talk to, and it was lovely to see them so enthusiastic about helping me pick up litter!!  How could I possibly discourage them?)

It didn’t take very long before I realised that there was no way on earth I was going to get all the litter in this area cleaned up, there was so much, and so much of it difficult to reach, being thrown into brambles and deep in the overgrown bushes.  I found a copious amount of empty cans and bottles, and a FULL bottle of Baileys! I threw away unopened ready meals, CDs, lots of cigarette ends, bits of cars, crisp and sweet wrappers, to list but a few items.  In total, I filled 6 green rubbish bags, and 2 recycling bags (I stopped using recycling bags when I realised that the cans and bottles were so disgustingly filthy they probably weren’t recyclable)

The smell coming from the rubbish bags I was filling was completely foul….. it was so bad I was almost expecting to find a dead animal under a bush somewhere, but the smell was coming from the rubbish itself……stagnant water and rotting whatever contained in beer bottles really isnt’ pleasant I can assure you.  It made me realise that litter isn’t just an aesthetic problem, the smell was really foul, and the liquids coming from the bottles and cans must be so unhygienic, bad for people and wildlife.   I was dismayed when I realised (when in the pub with Kevin and Marcus for a post litter pick drink) that I had brought the smell with me, and had to go home for a shower!!

One thing I didn’t find, that I was partly relived about and partly worried that I simply haven’t found them, is needles. Jacob told me that he had found needles nearby, and one of his neighbours I was talking to also told me the same. This is extremely worrying, and something that needs to be kept in check…… If you find a discarded needle, please contact the local police immediately and ask their advice.

There is still a great deal of work to do on this area.  I would really like to see it cleaned up, and improved so that it is a pleasant, safe area for children to play, and for people to walk. My little brother is coming to visit at the weekend, and we are going to spend some time cleaning some more litter here, maybe we will get it completed after another go next weekend.