The litter picks around Wanstead continue to take place on the third Saturday of each month.

A group of dedicated locals come together to spend an hour or so cleaning up areas around the centre of Wanstead – including Christchurch and George Green.

It is always an interesting experience, doing something positive for the environment but also seeing just how human beings continue to dirty the places in which they live. Does any other creature behave in quite such a self-destructive way toward its own home?

There is a strange, couldn’t-care-less attitude from so many people, who throw rubbish out of the windows of passing cars or drop their fast food containers on the way home.

The recent flooding of the Roding brought another shoal of rubbish to Wanstead, with bottles, bags and all sorts washing up along the river banks and in the adjoining lakes. Again the volunteer litter pickers went out to clear up much of this debris.

Redbridge Council has been taking decisive action to address this sea of rubbish over recent years. More money has been put into cleansing, the volunteer litter picks and clean ups have spread across the borough. Penalties are being imposed for fly tipping.

The council are also rolling out wheelie bins in a number of pilot areas including Wanstead. The bins are intended to ensure that litter is not strewn around the area, with the present black bags often vulnerable to being ripped open by animals, encouraging rats and other vermin.

It is hoped the new service will see more recycling as well. The present level of 24 per cent puts the borough amongst the lowest recyclers in the country.

However, what the new strategy really underlines is the need to not create so much waste in the first place.

There has been a push over recent years to recycle as much as possible – rightly so. However, the challenge is to not create this waste in the beginning. The world is being choked with plastic, it simply cannot take anymore, yet we keep pumping it out.

The goal now is to create less waste of all kinds – the environment simply cannot cope.

There have been other positive developments to cut waste. The initiative of the high street baker Ingles to cut out plastic is a most welcome development. A number of businesses in the Wanstead area have really made efforts to cut plastic.

It is a shame that the same cannot be said of the supermarkets. There are some efforts being made but to date these remain tokenistic offerings. There is still far too much packaging – especially plastic. Looking around supermarkets it is difficult to understand why, for instance, all the milk products cannot be put in cardboard recyclable containers or glass bottles. However, most milk products remain in plastic containers.

So much could be done by the supermarkets if they took the crisis seriously, rather than simply addressing things on the level of corporate image.

So there is much to be done at many levels to address the waste culture in which we live. The council must continue to progress in its provision of recycling and other services. Shops, both big and small, need to stop producing the waste. And individuals need to stop creating the waste, as well as making their voices heard with shops and the council as to what they want to see to really clean up our environment and the land on which we all live.