Join our army of litter pickers
WHEN we were kids our dad organised the local children to go out litter picking in Worsley Woods.
For a few hours every month a motley brigade in colourful anoraks and wellies roamed around the old railway track, salvaging sweet wrappers and drinks cans from the brambles and pulling plastic bags from hedges.
Even today the old instincts kick in when someone hands me a litter picker.
Now our charity Sustrans is appealing for volunteer litter pickers across the National Cycle Network to help maintain cycle and walking routes across the country.
You can work on your own on a path in your neighbourhood or go out as part of a team for regular workdays.
They’ll even issue you with your own personal litter picker.
Sustrans created the National Cycle Network in 1995 and the network now covers over 14,000 miles of on-road routes and traffic-free paths, such as the Fallowfield Loop, or the Transpennine Trail in Greater Manchester.
The Network is owned and managed by many partners, including local authorities, private landowners, waterways and Sustrans.
But much of the day-to-day maintenance of these pathways relies on volunteers to ensure they are open and accessible for everyone to enjoy.
Every month a green army of Sustrans volunteers gathers hundreds of binbags full of litter from the network, which sometimes reveal tantalising untold stories.
Amongst the old mattresses, discarded bottles and plastic of all shapes and sizes volunteers have unearthed an abandoned wedding ring, a giant teddy bear and an oven complete with a roasted chicken. In some areas of Greater Manchester flytipping is a regular problem, but the more that local communities get involved in keeping our green spaces clean and tidy, the more they will be used and selfpoliced. There’s loads to do.
Sustrans also needs volunteers for a wide variety of tasks along the National Cycle Network, including help with maintaining signs, managing woodland, wildlife monitoring or creating new habitats such as wildflower meadows.
Greater Manchester has ambitions to be a ‘cycling city’, where more people choose to travel by bicycle or a combination of bicycle and public transport, for more of their journeys.
A recent Bike Life survey by Sustrans and Transport for Greater Manchester of 4,000 residents in the city region showed that a third of participants didn’t cycle but wanted to and 75 per cent of people want more investment in cycling.
Sustrans is campaigning to attract more funding to create healthy cities with real alternatives to car travel, but everyone can get involved to demonstrate how much we value our existing greenways. It’s as simple as picking up a litter picker.
If you would like to become a Sustrans volunteer or help litter pick on your local stretch of the National Cycle Network please contact abigail.pound@sustrans. org.uk.
Find out more about Sustrans at www.sustrans. org.uk
●● Sustrans is appealing for volunteer litter pickers across the National Cycle Network