It has been good to see Wanstead looking so clean over recent weeks. Congratulations should go to the local community and the council’s cleaning teams for the excellent work being done.

The Labour council dedicated extra funding this year to cleaning, so it is great to see the benefits in our part of the borough.

In addition, there have been voluntary litter picks. These are fairly numerous in our area.

There is a regular litter pick held on a Saturday around the Eagle Pond area. Then there is the councillor-led litter pick on the third Saturday of each month, starting at 10am from Woodbine Place, by the buses.

There are other ad-hoc voluntary litter picks going on all the time, such as in Wanstead Park and on the Flats. So there is a lot going on, from a variety of people to keep the area tidy and environmentally sustainable.

Things can always be done better of course. A major improvement would come about if some people did not just discard their litter. The council have cracked down on this, with substantial fines for fly tipping. However, there is still a lot of rubbish just being dropped by people walking about or thrown out of car windows. It is not like we do not have a lot of bins in Wanstead where people can put the rubbish.

There is also sometimes a problem with people dumping household waste in public bins. There are more than adequate refuse collection services in the borough, why are some people bagging stuff up and filling up the public bins, which are required for rubbish generated in other ways?

Things are getting better but there is still some way to go. It remains a matter of amazement to me that the human being can be so destructive toward his or her own environment – is there any other animal that acts in quite such a self-destructive way?

Of course one of the most lethal forms of waste is plastic. There has been much publicity recently about how humanity is literally choking the earth. Much of the land and sea are already totally saturated. Moving forward, the plastic out there needs to be dealt with but there must also be less produced. It is this motivation that has led to actions to get individuals. shops and high streets to stop single plastic use. It is one of the objectives of the Wanstead Environmental Charter to help create a cleaner, greener area.

Back in June, some residents took their plastic back to Tesco, the Co-op and M&S, writing a message on the item in question to the shop about what they wanted to happen about plastic. The supermarkets engaged at the time but we have seen little change since in terms of reducing plastic use.

The latest initiative will combine the aims of clearing up litter and getting rid of plastic. So on September 21 there will be a marathon litter pick from 10 am till 2pm. People can come for any part or all of that time. We will then see what results, with any plastic that is identifiably from a supermarket being returned to that place of origin. The more people take part, the stronger the message will be – we want to continue to clean up Wanstead and to make the high street single plastic free.

  • Paul Donovan is a Redbridge councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See