England's litter picking army speaks

Image caption We can't leave it all up to the Wombles

When it comes to litter, there are three types of person: those who drop it, those who don't drop it but don't pick it up, and those who pick it up. Probably most of us fall into the middle category. Luckily for us, there is a great big (unpaid) litter army out there - and they're not all Wombles.

We asked readers to contact us with their tales of litter picking. Here they are, in their own words.

Sarah, Grimsby

Image caption Sarah and William quite enjoy picking up litter

I started picking up litter when walking everywhere with a pram when my son was born - suddenly I just started to notice it more.

I bought myself a grabber and try to go out every few weeks, or just when it gets bad.

I take my three-year-old son William as he loves coming out with me round the block on my litter rounds. Someone always speaks to me and I've found it a great way to get to know my community.

When I first started I felt self-conscious and it does anger me that people just casually litter their own streets, but doing a bit of good through it outweighs all that.

I get a real sense of achievement when I come back and I've filled a black bin bag! Plus, as Gandhi said: 'Be the change you want to see!'

Graham, London

I always pick up plastic bags - because if the wind gets hold of them, they get stuck in trees, creating an eyesore for years.

Trevor, Eastbourne

Image caption Trevor's not a man to go past a bin without putting something in it

Whenever I go running on our recreation ground I pick up the litter I pass and bin it.

If every dog walker who goes there did the same, our rec would always be litter free.

As a regular litter picker of several years standing I agree that we need a publicity campaign on this subject.

As well as asking the minority of people who drop litter not to, we should encourage everyone else to pick it up.

Gary, Mitcham

Image caption Gary thinks the 5p plastic bag charge should be increased

I regularly pick up litter on my travels.

I welcomed the charging for plastic bags in supermarkets but the cost should be increased to 50p a bag as it is too low currently to be a deterrent.

I'd also welcome a refund system for all glass and plastic bottles as well as cans as these make up a large portion of the litter in my area. Essentially we need a culture change where it is universally seen by all our classes and cultures that littering, dumping and fly tipping is just not on at all.

Jo, Bradford

Image caption For Jo, a holiday is not a holiday without a family litter pick

My Dad used to pick up litter all around Scotland on our caravanning holidays in the 1960s.

On Loch Lomondside he was once approached by some official-looking suits and I thought he was in trouble. No, they had seen him from the hydro electric plant and came to give him a commemorative volume about the opening of the turbines as a token of their appreciation.

Years later my children and I used to clear the shore at Lochgoilhead on our Spring Bank Holiday visits and have great fun burning the winter's flotsam.

Now I just take a carrier bag with me and the dog - not for the dog but to clean up after fellow humans. One thing I don't understand are the number of runners who love to jog around our leafy lanes and blithely toss the drinks bottles over their shoulder rather than stick them in a bag or a bin.

Kathryn, Hadleigh

There is always rubbish in our road, from McDonald's, the school and after the dustman has visited - so now my husband takes his litter picker out with a black bag and clears the rubbish.

Hopefully other people in our road will see him and do the same, or just let him carry on.

Philip, Essex

Image caption Philip encourages others to collect litter

I see a huge amount of litter while riding country lanes and bridleways in Essex.

I don't challenge people you see dropping litter as you normally get an earful of expletives or physically threatened.

There doesn't seem to be a pattern, and people are shameless - especially throwing stuff out of cars.

I'm also a Mountain Leader and although it's less of a problem, people still litter National Parks, even in remote places (from wild-camping debris to banana skins).

Both the British Mountaineering Council and Mountain Training England encourage people, including those with leader qualifications such as mine, to spread the good practice of picking up litter you find (which I do).

Amy, Leeds

Image caption Amy believes people should have to clean their own streets

I think the German policy about people having to clean up their own streets should be implemented here in the UK.

I do pick up the odd bit here and there, but usually only in my local neighbourhood, rather than in the city centre or anywhere else.

I would happily do more in my local area but I think it should be everyone's responsibility.

I think the more we can get people to do, the more money local authorities will have to spend on other priorities.

Image copyright PA
Image caption This is not recommended, fun though it might be

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