Litter, Human Nature and False Economies

litter09:20 Monday 9th May 2011
Mid-Morning Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

ANDY HARPER: Now along with our many other subjects, we are talking rubbish this morning, particularly the state of Peterborough’s Cathedral Square, which has been slated. Also there’s a rise of fly-tipping in the city, and that’s being blamed on the cancelling of bulk waste removal service. Well a one man campaign almost, over the years that I’ve been presenting this programme, has been waged by Roger Hughes, to try and keep Peterborough tidy. And over the years he has sent me photographs of fly-tipping, and some of the sites in the centre of Peterborough. And today is no exception. Roger, good morning to you.
ROGER HUGHES: Good morning Andy. How are you?
ANDY HARPER: I’m good thank you very much. Tell us then about the state of Cathedral Square. Lots of criticism.
ROGER HUGHES: Well yes. Wherever you’ve got a takeaway, you’re going to have problems. It doesn’t matter what you do, you have to have intensive cleaning the whole time. If you don’t you’re just going to have a build-up of rubbish.
ANDY HARPER: And is that the case in the centre of the city?
ROGER HUGHES: I think it’s everywhere Andy. Peterborough seems to be .. you can go out on a Sunday morning, after the night clubs have finished, and it’s like wading your way through the rubbish. They clean it up very quickly, I’ll give them their due, but it’s a cost to the taxpayer. Why should it be held by the taxpayer really? You’ve got all these companies round Cathedral Square. You’ve got people selling all sorts of things. And people just throw the boxes and the bits of paper away with no thought.
ANDY HARPER: You see, it’s not your fault. It’s not my fault. And in many many ways, it’s not the Council’s fault. But it is the customers of these outlets. Are you saying that if they identify certain wrappings, and containers, that the company involved should be penalised?
ROGER HUGHES: Well don’t you think so Andy? Don’t you think that the people, I won’t mention names ..
ANDY HARPER: We know what you’re talking about.
ROGER HUGHES: Yes. They come straight off the lips, don’t they? Yes, they know they’re there, and I’m sure they probably do pay a percentage. I’m not sure. But the whole thing about rubbish, we talk about skips and what have you, I remember when Peterborough used to supply skips every six months, in certain areas of the city. And you could .. there was one very close to my house, and regularly people .. you would save up your bits and pieces that you wanted to get rid of, and you’d put them in that skip, and then you had recycling.
ANDY HARPER: Somebody would come and help themselves. Yes, I know. (THEY LAUGH)
ROGER HUGHES: To be honest with you, one of the doors in my old house came out of that skip. Because somebody had chucked the door down in their house and thrown it away. and I had a broken door, so I took it out and rehung it.
ANDY HARPER: And I used to be envious of you, because that was a facility which I know that you had in Peterborough. Living where I live, we never had such a thing. And then it was dispensed with. Consequently the rubbish that used to be put in skips is just dumped on the side of the road.
ROGER HUGHES: That means savings.
ANDY HARPER: Well it’s not savings, is it?
ROGER HUGHES: No. Because it’s not. But that’s the word that they use. You know straight away they’ll say, oh well, there’s a saving there of ¬£15,000. Well no, not really. I watch. You know I watch regularly. I go out and there’s stuff everywhere. After this weekend, you will go out , I’ve seen settees, carpets, ladders. You name it, you see it. It’s here everywhere. And it has to be cleared up. And who pays for it?
ANDY HARPER: Well exactly. So in the long term, there’s no saving at all.
ROGER HUGHES: No. There’s just a cost. And if you’ve got a recycling centre, like you’ve got .. no disrespect to them at Dogsthorpe .. but when you get up there it’s a nightmare. There’s hardly any room for cars to get through. It’s difficult to get into the spaces to unload. Some of the people, the guys, are really helpful. There are others who stand there and just watch you. If you don’t make things easy for people, and make it attractive, let’s go down there and get rid of it, people are just going to stop. If you’ve got a queue that’s about 20 or 30 cars long ..
ANDY HARPER: People aren’t going to bother.
ANDY HARPER: The crux of your whole point here Roger, is that it’s human nature, sadly, for some people, to not care about their environment, and to throw rubbish around, and to dump rubbish. You’re saying that the local authority, sadly, it’s down to them, have got to make it easier for people to get rid of their rubbish, either in the centre of the city, or indeed, on the outskirts. They’ve got to make it easier, then people will do it.
ROGER HUGHES: Yes. Because you go to certain places¬†after the weekend, You can go to Bretton in Peterborough. I bet you what you like you go down there this morning and you’ll look across, where the banks are, and where the tills are, the ATMs, you will see hundreds and hundreds of bits of paper that people have taken out of there with their recipts or whatever on it ..
ANDY HARPER: And chucked them.
ROGER HUGHES: And chucked them.
ANDY HARPER: It’s unbelievable.
ROGER HUGHES: There’s nver a bin anywhere near.
ANDY HARPER: That’s right. There’s never a bin by these things. You’re absolutely right.