A DETERMINED environmentalist has been recognised for her unstinting efforts to keep Portsmouth tidy.
Every day Caroline Cousins spends an hour cleaning up other people’s rubbish in the north of the city while walking her dog.
Covering the idyllic countryside at Hilsea Lines, the Cosham resident rolls up her sleeves and clears away an assortment of rubbish, ranging from takeaways to plastics.
Caroline’s relentlessness has seen her given the prestigious title of litter ambassador for Keep Britain Tidy.
And while she is delighted with the recognition, she wants to inspire others to join her in the battle as well as encourage the public to look after their countryside.
She said: ‘I’m happy to make a difference in the area through my litter picking. We have such a beautiful countryside at Hilsea Lines so it’s important to preserve it.
‘It’s so sad when you see all the mess.
‘Keep Britain Tidy gave me the award due to my commitment and effort to make things better, though I was shocked when I was given it.
‘I saw an opportunity to do something about the litter and every day spend an hour cleaning up when I walk my dog. I realised I didn’t need money and could make a difference myself. All you need is effort.’
Caroline believes tackling environmental waste is a global issue but everyone can do their bit. ‘When you start doing it you end up scrutinising yourself to see what you can do better,’ she said.
‘Plastic is one of the big areas we all need to tackle. There are alternatives coming through but not quick enough.’
Caroline wants to create a groundswell of interest and get other like-minded people to get on board. After claiming her award she is in a position to help others wanting to make a difference with her now having specialist cleaning equipment.
She added: ‘I hope to make an impression and I know there are a lot of people like me out there so I would love to connect with these people and hopefully we can make a difference for future generations as well as the environment where we live now.’