Reading through my papers following last night's Parish Council meeting, I have come across a letter from Lisa Chambers, the Portfolio Holder for Waste on Suffolk County Council.
In it, she talks about the 2011 Don't be a Tosser campaign, which launched on Monday, the closure of seven of the eighteen Household Waste Recycling Centres, and the reduction in the opening hours for the remaining eleven, as well as the launch of a new fly-tipping squad (presumably to deal with those people who can't or won't drive the increased distances to the Household Waste Recycling Centre...). All depressing enough, I suppose.
But my attention was drawn to a section near the end;
"This year we will also be encouraging primary and middle schools across Suffolk to buy school litter-pick packs, comprising: six high-visibility tabards; six litter pick sticks; and six pairs of gloves.
This will hopefully encourage them, to do litter picks in and around their schools all year round. The packs will cost around £40 each."
Now call me old fashioned, and I accept that this is voluntary, but should we be asking young children to clean the streets around their schools, volunteers or otherwise? If they require high-visibility tabards, does that imply that they'll be in areas in close proximity to traffic? And who supervises them, a teacher? In work time, when they might be teaching, or in their own time, on an unpaid basis?
Yes, by all means provide the means for local communities to take part in litter picks, or give me a litter pick stick so that I can gather what litter there is in my village as I walk around, but the use of children is slightly creepy. Let them play and learn instead, they'll have plenty of time to work when they leave school...