With bin bags, gloves and boundless enthusiasm, it’s the little litter pickers who are leading the charge against rubbish.
Scouts and community teams, conscientious siblings and eco-tots have shown just what the Daily Mail’s Great British September Clean is all about.
The campaign – run in conjunction with Keep Britain Tidy – comes to a close tomorrow but the Mail hopes the stories of these youngsters will inspire readers to continue the crusade against litter…
FAMILY WITH FEELGOOD FACTOR
The Cooper-Gers family from Stockton-on-Tees (pictured) started litter picking as a New Year’s resolution
Kate Cooper-Gers and husband Joseph started litter picking as a New Year’s resolution with their four children.
Business owner Kate, 29, formed a litter picking group for their community in Hardwick, Stockton-on-Tees, taking children Max, nine, Beatrix, six, Molly, five, and Kit, two, out every Sunday to try to keep their area as tidy as possible.
She said: ‘We live near a hospital so there’s a lot of footfall, and a lot of litter. It just made our area look horrible.
‘We contacted the council and they provided us with all the equipment. We’ve had other friends and family join us too, and the children really enjoy it.’
Kate says everyone is motivated by trying to improve the area for visitors to the hospital.
She said: ‘Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you start to really enjoy it. It’s such a feelgood factor knowing you’re cleaning up your local area.
The kids absolutely love it, they run around trying to see who can pick up litter the fastest. We need to teach children to care for their local community.’
SISTERS WHO FOUND A CURE TO BOREDOM
With no school to attend and no friends to see this summer, Holly and Sophia Manclark decided to cure their boredom by litter picking.
The sisters have now picked up more than 50 bags of rubbish between them and show no signs of slowing down – they go out most days in a bid to to keep their neighbourhood in Palm Bay, Kent, clean.
Their father Scott, 41, said he was ‘beyond proud’ of Holly, eight, and Sophia, five, for taking action.
Sisters Holly and Sophia Manclark (pictured) decided to cure their boredom by litter picking in their neighbourhood of Palm Bay, Kent
He said: ‘We often get people coming up to us and saying what a good job they’re doing.
‘They’ve awakened something in the local residents and inspired them to take a bit more pride in where they live.
‘I hope that people see my two young daughters out and about and think twice before they drop another piece of rubbish.’
THE SCOUTS PREPARED FOR LITTER PATROL
Wielding their litter picking sticks, the scouts, beavers and cubs of Wyre Forest in Worcestershire, have been waging a war on Covid litter that is blighting local parks.
Scout leader Karen Blanchfield led 15 litter picking sessions throughout September with a total of 195 children involved.
Mrs Blanchfield, who is a Keep Britain Tidy ambassador, said: ‘The kids absolutely love it.
‘I work with children from six all the way up to 18 and all of them get something out of the sessions we run.
‘They can’t believe how much litter there is around and they’re very determined to do something about it.
The scouts, beavers and cubs of Wyre Forest in Worcestershire (pictured), have been waging a war on Covid litter that is blighting local parks
‘We run a very fun, educational programme for them to show how long litter lasts and how damaging it can be to wildlife.
Since we’ve come out of lockdown the problem has got even worse. There are face masks everywhere.
‘But we feel lucky because in our area there’s lots of community litter picking groups who do great work.’
The Wyre Forest scouts work with community group the Junior Pick-up Artists who aim to get children interested in litter.
THE SIBLINGS MAKING WAVES ON THE RIVER
Canoeing on the River Soar in Leicestershire, Luke and Sam Hill were astonished by the mess they found.
The brothers were taken out on the water by their uncle Sam Laywood, 35, a local litter picking hero who was determined to show them how waste impacts waterways and wildlife.
Along with several other litter picking groups to go out on the river that day, they collected 150 bags in total. Mr Laywood, a sales rep, said the lesson was absolutely vital to helping young children understand waste.
Canoeing on the River Soar in Leicestershire, Luke and Sam Hill (pictured) were astonished by the mess they found
He said: ‘The way to engage children is by showing the impact litter has on wildlife. That’s what really motivates children to think about the environment.’
Luke, 12, and Sam, eight, found footballs, shoes, bags and food on their trawl of the waters. The family intend to keep up the good work and plan to go out on the water again soon.
Mr Laywood set up the North Leicestershire litter wombles Group in lockdown. He said: ‘We work with the South Leicestershire litter wombles and in August alone we picked up 1850 bags of litter.
‘I think that really shows the scale of the problem.’