Making London Clean Again
London is one of the economic powerhouses of the world, a bustling city that doesn’t sleep. Our infrastructure is top class and our buildings are some of the finest of all capitals, but there is one serious problem letting our city down…. The cleanliness of our streets!
If you walk down any street in London you will likely see some if not all of the following;
Litter on the pavement, overflowing bins, blocked drains at the roadside
Filthy paving slabs, cigarette buts, chewing gum spotted footpaths and graffiti on the walls.
How can such a wealthy city let this happen?
Litter and fly-tipping have been linked with higher risk of crime in a survey carried out by Keep Britain Tidy for Defra. Photograph: Janine Wiedel Photolibrary/Alamy
Link between Unclean streets and High Crime Rates
England’s poorest areas are proof of a link between deprivation, litter and crime, according to a survey published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Keep Britain Tidy, an environmental charity carry out the local environmental quality survey for England on behalf of Defra and this study claims that poor levels of cleanliness are also associated with increases in low-level crime and social disorder.
It also found more crime in streets with rubbish, graffiti and fly-posting, and less in the cleanest streets.
It makes perfect sense that unclean areas will attract higher crime.When there is no sense of local pride and community in an area and visible evidence of an under managed, under cared and under policed area crime will increase
Something has to change
Learning from the Cleanest City in The World
Calgary in Canada has been voted the cleanest city in the world, how do they do it? Below are two strategies that we should adopt here in London;
A) Stricter Fines
B) Concentrated cleaning programs
The city has adopted a more authoritative stance towards those that break the city’s laws on littering, introducing hefty fines for those that are caught. The penalties for violating these laws can range from CAN $500–1000 (~£300–600), These regulations not only ensure that anyone who breaks them is punished, but act as a deterrent to those considering doing so.
Calgary also puts much effort into maintaining the pristine conditions of its streets. Every year, the city undergoes its ‘Spring Clean-up’, a comprehensive street-sweeping programme that takes place between April and June. During this period, over 15,000 km of paved roads are thoroughly cleaned to keep the city clean and safe for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists.
We would love to see this in London, who’s up for an annual spring clean up of our streets?
Cleaning up London Borough by Borough
Introducing a stringent cleaning scheme to clean up the appearance of each borough whilst at the same time introducing larger fines and stricter policing to deter future perpetrators is needed.The Fines collected can contribute to the increased costs associated with delivering an improved cleaning schedule.
We have seen first hand on a smaller localised scale with a TMO (tenant management organisation) in Acton, how transforming an area can lead to the community pulling together to look after it in the future.
Here’s our proposed pilot cleaning program for one of the 32 London boroughs, Hounslow
London Boroughs Cleaning program
This summer we helped Hounslow council to steam clean all 600 of their street bins and place stickers on the bins warning members of the public of fines for dumping of waste.
We think this service needs carrying out every 6 months
We propose having a full time graffiti removal team who remove graffiti on a planned and reactive basis
Daily pressure washing of the streets including steam cleaning teams dedicated to the removal of chewing gum from paving is needed. There are methods available that can be used in conjunction with pedestrian traffic so no need to shut off pavements.
Combining these visible efforts with stricter fines for people littering or spitting gum onto the pavement, more signage and more bins especially at train station exits and bus stops will make a huge difference.
Chewing Gum Removal London
‘Local councils currently spend £60 million a year scraping an estimated two million pieces of gum, dropped daily, from pavements.’*
However our steam cleaning operatives can remove up to 3000 pieces in an 8 hour shift, that means we could remove two million pieces of gum with two steam cleaning operatives in less than a year and for a cost of less than £0.5 Million.By subbing this work out to experienced, local professional companies the council can quickly get on top of what’s becoming an epidemic whilst making a huge saving
Lets tackle this huge problem ruining the appearance of our London Pavements
An increase in removal efforts, combined with new gum bins introduced and an educational marketing campaign focusing on the increase in fines could see the start to an end of our chewing gum problem here in London.
We also propose having bulky waste teams who are on call to remove any dumped rubbish immediately. There has been an increase in people dumping bulky waste in line with the high turn around of tenants in rental properties.
Cleaning the street bins and commercial waste bins to help remove bad smells and deter pests
4 road sweepers
Chewing Gum Removal
Bulky Waste Removal
The first steps to tackle this problem in London is to make strong bonds with groups who are actively bringing awareness to these problems such as Keep Britain Tidy