Monday, August 18, 2008

Not a Little Litter

Coming back from a holiday in Greece, where the summer heat and rather vintage plumbing lead to dubious odours on most street corners, I was hoping to return to a spangling, sparkling and generally rather clean Oxford. I was actually a bit disappointed.

Sure, the smell's not too bad, apart from outside The Bridge after a student night, but the littler situation is far from great. Interestingly, the sort of litter varies depending on where you are:

> The station - newspapers and those cardboard cups commuters glue to their noses at peak times.
> Jericho - champagne bottles, ribbons (bizarre but look and you'll always find one!), Co-op bags.
> High Street - depending on the time of year: cigarette ends from bus drivers and queues, eggs, flour, balloons, cheap champagne, silly string, confetti from exam schools trashings, or bits of bush and clothing from May morning.
> Cornmarket Street - a whole spectrum of fast food packaging. Mcdonalds bags are particularly annoying to extract from your shoe.
> Queen Street - dead balloon. Where do these come from and why are they there? A great mystery.
> Magdalen Street - ice cream and bits of food. This seems to be the ultimate ice cream graveyard. Brings back those awful memories of dropping your 99 when you were a kid.

So what's the solution? More bins? Would certainly help. They are there, but try crossing the streams of Friday afternoon pedestrian traffic to reach one. Edible carrier bags, balloons and more stable ice cream carriers seem to be the way forward.
One impressive attempt at reducing the problem is Oxford's Big Tidy Up, which is due to take place in September:
The last one saw 11.5 tonnes of litter tidied up in one weekend.
Why not pop along and help if you're free for a few hours?

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