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Gillingham couple collect more than 150 bags of litter from Medway roads since start of pandemic


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A husband and wife have spent lockdown cleaning up the streets.

Barry and Helen Knight are using their time in isolation by litter picking in Gillingham and Chatham and so far have collected more than 150 bin bags of rubbish since last March.

Barry tackled the litter issue around the Great Lines area in Gillingham. Picture: Barry Knight
Barry tackled the litter issue around the Great Lines area in Gillingham. Picture: Barry Knight

The duo have tackled the refuse in Stopford Road, the Great Lines Heritage Park, Malborough Road, Balmoral Gardens, Longhill Avenue and Meadow Bank Road in the past few weeks.

Barry believes a lack of bins in the area coupled with more people taking part in daily walks has led to an increase in litter.

The Stopford Road resident said: "The quantities of rubbish in Gillingham are mind-boggling, especially along certain alleyways and corners of the Great Lines.

"There aren't enough bins in these roads and the ones that are there are always full. We always report full bins to the council.

"Further afield, it is hard not to notice the rubbish that is alongside busy roads and even smaller roads such as the Pilgrims Way, which we noticed on a walk in the summer between Boxley and Detling.

Helen Knight after collecting rubbish in the Great Lines Heritage Park. Barry Knight
Helen Knight after collecting rubbish in the Great Lines Heritage Park. Barry Knight

"It seems to me to be a national disgrace and a growing one at that.

"Could there be a deposit scheme for bottles and cans to encourage people not to drop recyclable litter in the first place?

"Or a focus on the environmental damage of rubbish to be included in the school curriculum? Even more bins, including recycling bins, that are emptied regularly would go a long way."

Medway Council's head of environmental services, Sarah Valdus, said: "I would like to thank this couple for their hard work helping to keep Medway clean and tidy.

"There are 1,454 litter bins across Medway which are regularly emptied by our contractor, Medway Norse.

Helen Knight after a busy afternoon litter picking in Longhill Avenue, Chatham. Picture: Barry Knight
Helen Knight after a busy afternoon litter picking in Longhill Avenue, Chatham. Picture: Barry Knight

"We understand that more people may be walking in their local area for their daily exercise and that our bins may be filled quicker than usual.

"We also have a regular street cleaning service and our contractor regularly litter picks around our green spaces.

"We would encourage residents to report bins which need emptying to us on our website. We all have a responsibility to help keep Medway clean and tidy."

Residents can report litter, and bins which need emptying, at www.medway.gov.uk/reportlitter

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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