Clearing up litter with a can-do spirit

Local people in Hanwell have been ensuring their green spaces are as clean as possible by organising regular litter picking and clear-ups targeting cans, bottles and any rubbish irresponsibly dropped in the area.

Litter Action Group Ealing Residents – or LAGER CAN is a suitably-named local group, as founder member Keith Freegard explains: “Beer cans are the most common item we find as litter in the local parks, so it fits well.

“We focus our efforts around Brent Lodge Park and Manor Court Green and all around the river and I manage to do a sweep of the area most days. Right now there are more than 133 members of the group so between us all we are hopefully making a real difference and across several parks.

For Keith, his love of local parks is the reason he works almost daily to keep his patch litter free: “For myself and many people, experiencing our local parks should be about enjoyment – whether you are walking, playing sport or having a picnic. It’s been shown that getting out into green spaces is hugely beneficial for health and wellbeing.

“This is why it is so disappointing to see a minority of people mindlessly chucking their litter around and ruining what should be a pleasant experience for all park users. I used to get really angry about litter, up to the point where I was feeling worse when out walking in my local parks – not better.

“That’s when I realised I should turn all that anger into positive energy and try to make a real difference myself – so I created the Facebook group LAGER CAN.”  

Ealing Council has also been working alongside the group to ensure that they have ongoing support, securing them £750 of local ward funding in the process. Brent Lodge Park is also one of many in the borough that has been furnished with litter clean-up boards complete with rubbish bags and litter-picking sticks for temporary use should passers-by wish to contribute.

Keith continues: “It’s been great to see the council’s park ranger team getting turbo-charged on the issue of litter in parks and we’ve personally received help from them in our litter clean-up efforts. I know they also support Brent River Clean-up volunteer groups and recent Plogging events.

“I think we have already seen a change in behaviour as people see others taking a stand against littering and notice the positive impact on the environment. I think that there has been a reduction in litter being dropped around here or at least a lot more is getting cleaned-up. I should know as I’m cleaning up almost every day.”