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‘We’d have tidy streets in the East End—butt for cigarette ends’ say litter volunteers

PUBLISHED: 15:30 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:54 12 March 2019

Never too young to join the East End's Big Clean Up. Picture: LBTH

Never too young to join the East End's Big Clean Up. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

Cigarette ends have been the butt of annoyance at the East End’s annual ‘Big Clean Up’ carried out by Tower Hamlets Council to rid the streets of litter.

Children from the 8th East London Scout Group ready to help the council's Big Clean Up. Picture: LBTHChildren from the 8th East London Scout Group ready to help the council's Big Clean Up. Picture: LBTH

It was all hands—and fingers—to the pump as children joined 200 volunteers in ‘street squads’ to pick up rubbish.

They filled 131 large waste bags and six 1,000kg ‘green waste’ bags between them.

But ‘micro’ rubbish was once again frustrating the volunteers, with discarded cigarette butts having to be painstakingly removed one-by-one with special hand-operated picks to remove the most common litter.

What a load of rubbish! This is what the East London scouts picked up in Whitechapel High Street. Picture: LBTHWhat a load of rubbish! This is what the East London scouts picked up in Whitechapel High Street. Picture: LBTH

People are still smoking, despite the publicity about to their health, and dropping the butts for others to clear up.

One young volunteer, eight-year-old Inayah from the 8th East London Scout Group, had a message for the litterbugs.

“It seemed like people don’t care about the earth,” she fumed. “People should have picked their litter up themselves and chucked it in the bin.”

Tidying up along the Whitechapel Road, outside East London Mosque. Picture: LBTHTidying up along the Whitechapel Road, outside East London Mosque. Picture: LBTH

She was one of the youngsters from the 8th and 2nd East London scout groups who volunteered to join the Big Clean-Up in Whitechapel High Street.

Others in the war on litter included students from Queen Mary University and members of East London mosque’s congregation tidying up along Whitechapel Road.

There were also members of Bethnal Green’s GoodGym fitness centre who jogged to Wennington Green near Mile End Park for a group exercise session—and to pick up rubbish strewn across the green.

Volunteers from GoodGym collected up all this from Wennington Green. Picture: LBTHVolunteers from GoodGym collected up all this from Wennington Green. Picture: LBTH

Cllr David Edgar, who leads the authority on environment issues, was pleased at the public’s “civic pride” response.

He said: “This clean-up channels civic pride to give extra attention to particular neighbourhoods, on top of the council funds to clean up the whole borough.”

The council’s quarterly clean-up event began in October, 2017, to mobilise the public to help keep the East End spic and span and make it “greener”.

People with pride... householders join the street squads to tidy up their neighbourhood. Picture: LBTHPeople with pride... householders join the street squads to tidy up their neighbourhood. Picture: LBTH

Mayor John Biggs said: “We’re pleased with everyone who pitches in during these events. Those who take pride in their area are making the East End cleaner and greener.”

The town hall also had help from the Canal & River Trust, Queen Mary Student Union, Tower Hamlets Homes, Keep Britain Tidy campaign and the East London Mosque.

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