ALAN MAK: Helping keep our streets plastic free

Alan Mak MP with volunteers at the Purbrook litter pick
Alan Mak MP with volunteers at the Purbrook litter pick
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The Havant MP mucks in to care for the environment.

We can all do out bit to keep our community clean, and I recently joined volunteers in Purbrook for a community litter pick, helping clear some of the rubbish that people carelessly throw away.

In total, 22 people joined me, including local councillors, members of the Stakes WI and residents’ association supporters, helping to collect more than 50 bags of rubbish, including a radiator, in just over two hours.

During Lent I’ve been cutting out single-use plastic, but it’s great that volunteers from the community are getting together for litter picks too.

I am delighted to hear that they are starting to take place across the constituency, in Purbrook, Hayling Island, and also in Emsworth with the Final Straw campaign.

There are also plans in place to start the West Leigh Litter Pickers, anyone who is interested should contact me through my website AlanMak.org.uk/Contact to find out more.

But while it’s great that the community can come together to keep our streets clean, more also has to be done to crack down on fly-tipping and littering.

That’s why the government has introduced tough new rules for the Environment Agency to crack down on waste crime.

Waste crime cost our economy more than £600m in 2015, including lost landfill tax revenues and clean-up costs, and creates severe problems for people who live or work nearby with odour, dust, litter, vermin, fly infestations, pollution and fires blighting lives.

Waste criminals also undercut genuine businesses who dispose of waste responsibly.

The new powers will ensure that the Environment Agency has the power to lock the gates or block access to problem waste sites to prevent thousands of tons of waste illegally building up.

In addition, they will be able to force operators to clear all the waste at a problem waste site, not just the illegal waste.

Waste crime and fly-tipping blight our communities and spoil our countryside, and we need determined action to tackle it. Everyone must take responsibility for our waste to make sure it is disposed of in the right way.