Enforcement is needed to stop curse of the litterbug

COMMENT: Let’s make these towers safe as soon as possible

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It’s a good job that the government, when deciding to award money for the Artches project in Old Portsmouth, didn’t use the state of the nearby Hot Walls beach as one of the criteria.

Yesterday it was announced that £1.75m would go towards the Artches project to build artists’ studios and a creative quarter in the arches – a financial boost for the area.

Sadly, today we print pictures of the mess left behind by people who have been enjoying the sun on the beach – and it’s not a pretty sight.

And equally sadly, it’s a regular occurrence and there’s no excuse for it. It’s clear that the bulk of the detritus is drinks cans and food wrappers – and it’s disingenuous to claim that it’s anything other than laziness and selfishness on the part of those responsible.

It’s exactly the same problem on Southsea Common as soon as the weather warms up each year. Whereas some people will diligently collect up everything, often separating out their rubbish from the recycling, there will be groups who leave a mound of litter in the expectation that it will magically have disappeared by the first light of morning.

And, to give the council contractors some credit, Colas does do a good job in keeping the common and the beaches clear. It may be that it’s a victim of its own success, but that’s by the by – it would appear that we need to see more enforcement to change the culture that has taken root.

Recently there has been a row at Portsmouth City Council over hiring a private firm which could issue fines to deter dog fouling and litter. A previously-agreed plan was scrapped by the new administration, and it has been said that the idea will return before the council’s cabinet later.

Whatever the outcome of this bout of wrangling, our pictures today go to show that some form of deterrence is needed. Whether outsourced, whether council staff, or whatever, it’s time that steps are taken to make it clear that this cannot and should not go on.

We should take pride in every part of our city, not just the historic areas or tourist hotspots. But it’s extra embarrassing when those places are bespoiled by the litter louts’ selfishness.

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