'Take more responsibility for your litter,' councillor urges Sunderland households

Fed-up city bosses have urged the public to take more responsibility for their rubbish.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 6:15 pm
Litter has long been a bugbear in Sunderland
Litter has long been a bugbear in Sunderland

The latest figures have shown a surge in the number prosecutions and other enforcements against litter offences in Sunderland

But according to one city councillor, more money would be saved and streets kept cleaner if more people remembered to use bins or took their waste home with them.

“We have the ski slope site in my ward and cleansing does a fantastic job trying to keep it clear, but it’s almost impossible,” said Cllr Pat Smith, who represents Silksworth.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I could go around there every day with the bag in one hand and picker in another and it wouldn’t make any difference, which is just not acceptable.

“We’ve had nine completed prosecutions, but we need to come down harder on people, because it’s not improving in our streets, our parks or our open spaces.

“I know more people are using them, but it’s very easy to put some rubbish in your pocket or your bag and take it home – it would help council finances and make people a lot happier if they kept the place cleaner.”

It comes as the Echo runs its Clean Streets campaign, aimed at encouraging people to help keep the city clean and report those who spoil it for the rest of us with mess.

Cllr Smith was speaking at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Scrutiny Co-ordinating Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

According to figures for the panel, there were 2,464 ‘enforcement activities’ against littering in the city in the third quarter of 2020/21, more than double the number in Q2 and almost triple the number in Q1.

Responding, Liz St Louis, the council’s assistant director of smart city, said: “There is an awful lot of work being done around enforcement and that’s been increasing every quarter.

“There’s been quite a lot of work done on social responsibility and appealing to people to change habits and to be responsible for the environment.

“It is an ongoing problem, but one the council does take very seriously, and we are trying our best to tackle it.”

Support your Echo and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on SAFC and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.