RESIDENTS both young and old donned gloves and picked up refuse bags with one goal in mind – to make Gosport more beautiful.
Members of the Gosport and Lee Litteraction group organised a litter pick as part of a national Let’s Do It – UK Clean Up action day.
More than 70 people went to Falkland Gardens for the start of the event before spreading out along the harbour front and into Gosport’s streets to pick up rubbish.
Graham Smith, 57, of Lee-on-the-Solent, is co-ordinator of the Litteraction group.
He was thrilled so many people had come along to take part.
Mr Smith said: ‘This is probably the biggest clean-up we’ve ever organised.
‘Gosport gets a lot of bad press sometimes but it’s got an amazing community and volunteering spirit.
‘That’s evident in the number of people that have turned up today.’
Mr Smith said there was a growing awareness of the cost littering had on the country.
He said: ‘People are starting to wake up to the fact that there is a problem and momentum is starting to build. They say about £1bn is spent every year on cleaning and costs associated with picking up rubbish.
‘That’s money that could otherwise pay for thousands of police officers and teachers and nurses.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, 42, gave a speech at the clean-up.
She said adults could learn from youngsters when it came to picking up litter.
‘I get lots of letters from local schoolchildren saying: “why aren’t we doing more to keep our area tidy?, “who are all these people dropping the rubbish?”
‘They’ve got a very big social conscience and they understand it’s up to us to keep our area tidy and keep our community nice and clean.
‘If we were all to pick up after ourselves all those millions of pounds could be spend on schools and hospitals and other leisure facilities in our area, so it’s in our interest.’
Martyn Howting, 40, of Gosport, was among the volunteers picking up litter at the weekend.
He said it was a worthwhile cause which would benefit future generations.
‘It’s important to keep the community clean for the future of our children, and the legacy we leave behind,’ he said.