The council handed out a £400 fine to a woman who dropped cellophane out of her car window.
Merton Council proved its dedication to clamping down on litter louts last week by handing out a £400 fine to a woman who dropped cellophane out of her car window.
Carmel Plummer, 27, from Clapham, was fined £200 for littering and £200 in court costs after dropping the rubbish in Abbey Mills, South West London.
The decision will no doubt please campaign group Keep Britain Tidy, who today released figures from the biggest litter count in Britain to date.
It was the first survey where members of the public volunteered to collect and count Britain’s rubbish. In London, 55 people signed up and counted more than 2,230 pieces of litter.
“This survey provides us with a snapshot of what people have littered in communities across the country,” said Phil Barton, of Keep Britain Tidy.
It also gives more than 2,230 reasons in London alone why we all need to do more to make littering socially unacceptable – to reduce the environmental, social and financial costs of this national problem.”
Some have been critical about the amount of money Ms Plummer is being forced to pay.
“It’s really embarrassing for her. I think it’s too much, it’s totally ridiculous and it’s very rare that it happens,” said George Sporea, 28, who works in Wimbledon.
Ellen Ball, 19, of Wimbledon, said: “It’s a bit extreme, I don’t think it should be more than the cost of a speeding ticket. It’s a lot to pay. I think it should be about £50.”
Others found it easier to understand why the Council had imposed the penalty.
“Yes, I think that is a fair amount, it’s (littering) nasty,” said 16-year-old Paige Herring.
Nicos Sotiropoulos, 39, said: “It depends what you throw. If you throw one cellophane wrapper I don’t think you should be fined that much. There should be two types of fines because if someone throws a lot of rubbish it’s worse than one cigarette butt.”
One woman said she saw no excuse for littering in this country.
“In Italy, the streets are full of rubbish because they don’t have enough bins, but here in England, there are plenty of bins on the street,” said Federica Deidda, 23, of Tooting Broadway.
“I used to throw cigarette butts on the floor in Italy, but I wouldn’t here. So she deserves it.”
According to Keep Britain Tidy, littering is already costing the taxpayers almost £1 billion a year, without additional street cleaning.
As a result, they are trying to encourage people to take pride in their local areas by keeping them clean with their love where you live roadshow, which comes to London on March 25.
Merton has already come a long way with its Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act. After spending £3m on anti-litter campaigns last year, they have continued to try to improve the cleanliness of the borough in 2013.
In February, the council introduced ten new dual chewing gum and cigarette butt litter bins, piloted in Morden town centre.
Their aim was to reduce litter and spending, as the average clean-up of gum in a town centre costs £20k and usually has to be done several times a year.
If the scheme is successful the bins will be placed in other town centres in the area.
It will also be fining people a minimum £75 for dropping litter in a bid to keep the streets clean.
If you would like to attend a love where you live meeting go to http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/AboutUs/Default.aspx
Photo courtesy of Alan Stanton, with thanks.
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