The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper



Britain’s Filthiest Pride:Thirty Million Tons of Litter

As a nation we take pride in our loyalty to the Queen and country and that patriotism is perhaps what makes us British. Yet, if we love England so much, why do we continue to litter our streets?

Even with the introduction of the 5p bag laws and 2015’s ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign, we continue to relentlessly dirty the streets. Plastic bags, crumpled coke cans, snotty tissues and even old, broken furniture can be found down my road in Portsmouth. Is this rage of rubbish part of our national pride? It must be if we keep doing it – what a contradiction.

Organisation, Keep Britain Tidy, estimates that more than 30 million tons of litter is found on the streets of England. The cost to clean all this up has also risen to 1 billion pounds. In Hampshire, 1.4 million pounds was spent on fly tipping alone; 73 thousand pounds of that was just for Portsmouth.

73 thousand pounds of tax payer’s money is spent on cleaning our streets. Imagine what better use we could put that money to. How about the arts? Imagine putting all those pennies into supporting independent arts communities and maybe using it to keep the beloved Arts Lodge open. Who am I kidding? It would probably go towards some expensive and weird art feature that no one asked for.

Littering is laziness and we can all admit that (myself including) we have done it several times. We’ve all eaten a pack of crisps and slyly dropped the rubbish onto the floor when no one was looking. The bin was just too far away of course. A few steps might as well be a few miles, right?

However, fly tipping is more than just laziness. Dumping large quantities of garden waste or unwanted furniture on the street, isn’t as easy as sticking your gum to the underside of a table. There’s other reasons for this and it may not necessarily be the perpetrator’s fault.

The local landfill sites in Portsmouth, particularly Paulsgrove, have limited use for a van. After twelve trips you must then pay so if you are moving house or refitting your kitchen, removing your waste can soon add up. Furthermore, in October last year, Hampshire County Council increased their prices to remove and bin an item from your property. It used to be £2.50 per item yet is now £10.

Gosport Councillor, Peter Chegwyn, states: “It costs more to dump a piece of plaster at the tip than to buy it”. At these prices he is right. A large square of plasterboard will cost you £5.98 to buy from B&Q.

Take a walk through the streets of Portsmouth and I guarantee you will see soon enough a discarded piece of furniture or an oversized chunk of rubbish. What would you rather do? Pay £10 for someone to take your broken chair to the dump or leave it on the street for it to become someone else’s problem? Or you could take it to the landfill site yourself but you’re looking at a forty-minute round trip.

Pride isn’t enough to clean our streets anymore. With Brexit and the promise of the Country’s independence, surely as citizens we should start putting in more effort to make our city’s dazzle? And what about all the patriots who are hell bent on ‘taking back our country’ from ‘all the immigrants’? How often do they litter?

If you love your country so much why not walk an extra minute to the bin or pay the dump costs? If you want to take back the country then I think it is not the immigrants you should be removing, it’s the litter we spend 1 billion pounds a year to clear up.

This content is one individual's opinion and does not represent the opinion of The Galleon. If you disagree with this article or have any further comment to make please email

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