Saturday, March 3, 2012

How to Organise a Community Clean-Up Day!

How to Organise a Community Clean-Up Day!
By Nicholas Allen

image: depositphotos
Litter is an ever-growing problem in the UK. In 2011, it's estimated that over 25 million tonnes were dropped in Britain, spoiling both urban and countryside areas in equal measure. That amount of litter is not just an eyesore, however; it also contributed to the death or injury of nearly 70,000 animals last year. By organising a community litter-pick, you'll give people the chance to make a positive contribution to their local area while combatting a serious environmental issue. Here are a few essential tips for organising your own community clean-up!

- Decide on a location for your litter-pick. It's obviously a good idea to pick a badly affected area as your clean-up will have the most impact. Don't forget to contact any landowners to make sure you are legally entitled to access the area!

- Produce a map of the area you intend to clean up. Carefully assess any potential hazards and decide the route you're going to take.

- Decide on an appropriate time to stage your clean-up. People are more likely to be available and willing to help on a weekend, particularly in the morning!

- Find people who want to join in! Send a press release to the local press, distribute flyers and posters in the local community, inform your local MP and use all forms of social media.

- Contact people in the community using local social networks and online forums. Local social networks provide an opportunity to get in contact with motivated local groups and organisations who might be interested in a community initiative!

- Contact the local council and make them aware of your plans; they will be able to answer any practical questions you might have about your clean-up and provide options for waste disposal. If you ask nicely, they might even provide rubber gloves, bin bags and litter pickers!

- Drum up some publicity for your event. Post the details of your event on a local social network or forum and encourage others to share the information across various social media platforms. A story in the local press will also go a long way in your effort to gather interest and support.

- Brief your volunteers and appoint team leaders! Make sure all potential dangers are highlighted (e.g. warn children about drug-related paraphernalia). It's also a good idea to provide high visibility vests for all volunteers (which your local council may also be able to provide).

- Try not to disturb local wildlife or damage plants. The aim is to make a positive difference to the environment! Inform volunteers to call the RSPCA if any animals in distress are encountered.

- Remember to take 'before and after' photos of the area you've chosen to clean up. That way, the press and the local community will be able to see what a difference a litter-pick can make!

If you think you might like to make a positive contribution to the environment, a community clean-up day is the perfect way to get involved. It's also a fantastic way to teach children about environmental issues and the value of a clean community. With a little help, you'll make a huge difference - so get organising today!

Nicholas Allen -
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