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The Laz Word....from Larry Neild (7/7/08)

Dropped chips might mean party time for the city's seagulls, but can the tireless war against litter ever be won?

Published on July 11th 2008.


The Laz Word....from Larry Neild (7/7/08)

THEY are on the front line of Liverpool’s battle to become a truly tourist city. We can have the best collections of museums and galleries outside of London, we can have (some) stunning architecture and we can have an impressive waterfront (something the Mancs would die for).

So who are the real heroes of Liverpool? The councillors, the officials? Not at all. In my book you can put your hands together for the street cleaners.

It’s a pity we couldn’t get Wrigleys to be
one of the Capital of Culture sponsors – using their contribution to rid the streets of those obnoxious, and seemingly permanent, marks that scar the pedestrian areas

Despite the chewy that's spat out everywhere, and the fact that fast-food eaters think the street is one universal litter bin, they work night and day to try to keep the place as tidy as possible.

Maybe some will disagree with, but as I travel the city centre day and night the cleaners are engaged in a thankless, never ending job. Like painting the Forth Bridge without the glamour.

They have introduced street washers, scrubbing down the pavements with hot water. Yet the place often resembles a tip.

Just a few days ago, Rod Holmes, the brains behind the £1bn Liverpool One shopping and leisure development, expressed concern that the litter buggers who have blighted parts of the city centre, were already leaving their mark on the newly-opened Paradise Street area.

This is what Rod said: “I cannot understand how we can ever be proud of Liverpool, or aspire to be a great European city and tourist destination while we tolerate the litter and filth dropped in our principal streets."

He said it was more ignorance than maliciousness.

Rod is absolutely right. The solution, to me, is simple. It’s not the cleaners doing a bad job, it is the fact that we – Joe and Jill Public – mess the place up quicker than this hard working army can remove the dirt and the grime.

We should have a rule that people who wilfully discard rubbish or spit out chewing gum should be stung: around

£500 for a first-time offender, double otherwise. The penalty will go to hiring more street cleaners, or better still making persistent offend wear bright-orange ‘litter bugger’ jump suits as they scrub the streets they have messed up.

It’s a pity we couldn’t get Wrigleys to be one of the Capital of Culture sponsors – using their contribution to rid the streets of those obnoxious, and seemingly permanent, marks that scar the pedestrian areas. I do wonder whether there were enough robust trials to test the smart stone sets for resilience to yer average bubble gum-happy, spit-it-out scouser.

Flicking through the July edition of the Sunday Times Travel Magazine ,they announced their own winners and losers – destination-wise, as voted for by readers. Liverpool was featured on the ST list, not among the winners, but prominently among the losers.

Personally, I struggle with the concept of Liverpool as a tourism destination in the same way as, say, Barcelona, Brussels, and Dublin. We are emerging as a tourism location for the “what shall we do this weekend” brigade, but the scruffy state of the streets continues to let us down badly.

Love it or hate it, we are European Capital of Culture, and we all have a part to play in making the city as friendly, hospitable and clean – and tidy – as possible.

There is little use the city big-wigs shouting from the roofs of our skyscraper towers that we are a European city of tourism if visitors look down their noses at out streets paved with blobs of chewing gum and discarded chips. Some of us, quite simply, have got to stop living like pigs.

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37 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Lex IconJuly 7th 2008.

Dear Laz,We are 'outside' London, not "outside *of* London". Are you an American?

catch_22July 7th 2008.

I have to say Liverpool is the only city I’ve ever been in where I’ve seen parents actively encourage their kids to drop litter rather than put it in the bins nearby. Seriously it’s as if the keep Britain tidy campaign of my youth never made it here. Whats the answer? I reckon you’ve got to develop some kind of punishment that means something to the people in question. Not wanting to be too stereotypical here but the only thing I can think of is banning people caught behaving in antisocial ways from Anfield, Goodison and the associated fan shops, the clubs are always telling us how community minded they are, why not show it. I think you’ll get better results when dad has to explain to his lad that they can’t go to the game because he didn’t show enough respect to the city to walk 5 yards to a bin? If we could find a way to make it illegal for them to purchase kits, or get a sky package that showed the matches it would be truly tough punishment! Mind you wouldn’t bother non-footie fans like me.

Sir Howard WayJuly 7th 2008.

If you were at all educated you'd know that:- (a) we don't have "fire trucks" we have fire engines (b) the Kirkby contains two 'k's, and (c) the nice spacing between your paragraphs is showing...

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

Anyway-back to the litter problem!!The streets need to be jet washed every evening, not just machines dragged this way and that across the pavements, also, why don't we have signs that encourage people to keep the streets clean, apart from when they have a campaign run in schools, with kids drawings on slogans,real signs aimed at the adult population to be proud of our city, it's ours to keep clean..

Olive OilJuly 7th 2008.

Ok litter is a problem that will always be here ,,, but what really got my goat was the amount of ENGINE OIL SPILLAGE on the new paving flags in and around the new shopping centre from contractors lorries ...what a mess !!!!

LazJuly 7th 2008.

Hi Lex Icon. I thought I'd Americanise, or is it Americanize? my stuff to give it an international slant. That's for the message, y'all have a nice day now.

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

Not enough bins, and not enough on the spot fines. Were are these people that are supposed to be handing out the fines?sitting in some office somewere.I've never seen any of them in the town centre when litter or chewing gum is getting thrown.I'm a smoker and I do use the bins provided.

Urbane MusicJuly 7th 2008.

Aha! A confession!

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

I just thought that was the pissheads outside the Jacaranda who created those

SiobhanJuly 7th 2008.

A couple of notes:Olive Oil, may find that it's not engine oil that blackens new pavements. If new tarmac has been laid in the near vicinity, it reamins slightly tacky for a period of time and can be transferred by the soles of people shoes and tyres, but it does wear away very quickly.I also admit that new bins are needed but I don't see this as an excuse. I have been known to walk around the city centre carrying an empty drink can all afternoon rather than put it in the bin, because I'd rather take it home and recycle it than send it to landfill. I'd like to see recycling bins next to litter hins in the city.Finally, I think it's a shame to see people diverting the discussion away from the issue, towards an arguement of student v native. The root causes of a propensity of an individual or family to drop litter surely has to be far more complex that whether they were born here and/or study and work here.

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

To Urbane Music: What's wrong with slagging students off? Bring it on, I say!

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

They talk of city centre clean up, they ought to consider cleaning the rest of Liverpool there is other parts that need cleaned up.I am ashamed to take visitors round some area's in Liverpool as it's disgusting.I have to clean outside my house after the bin men have been as they leave a mess,that was not there before they came. Also I have to brush the street area outside as the street cleaner does not do it.So no wonder the place is the state it is,if people don't do their job properly.Come on this is a Lovely City show it at it's best.

PopeyeJuly 7th 2008.

Why is litter always a problem that will always be here? I admit, it's getting better, as Lazzer says, because of the constant cleaning operation, but it's still embarrassing. The chewing gum in particular. I've never seen anything like it anywhere else. Stop being so complacent!!!!

John Lennon AirportJuly 7th 2008.

I am particularly appalled by the spelling of both Singapore and illegal. I don't know which is more frightening, the idiocy of viewpoint, which is too silly to even take issue with, or the more obvious academic idiocy. You really cannot hope to successfully get through the rest of your life as an arrogant tosser with this level of spelling and grammar, can you? What did you say you were a student of, love?

Sir Howard WayJuly 7th 2008.

I have always thought that the city centre streets should be washed down with water bowsers overnight like they do in Paris. Those smelly machines with the brushes actually create streaks of grease and foul-smelling water along the pavements.

OFSTEDJuly 7th 2008.

Oh my God. What have we done! - "I always love the way people are so quick to judge people who can't spell. Unfortuently even I am not perfect (I do try), just because I can't spell dosn't mean I can't be educated. I meet people all the time who can't deal with maths but are educated, I do not for one second doubt there educated status just because they can't do certain area's of maths. Please dont be so judgemental."

Sir Howard WayJuly 7th 2008.

"And your argument about learning much, no, you’re probably right, informal use of the term guy just completely proves my stupidity and inability to hold and apply ideas and thoughts doesn’t it… *rolls eyes* ” - Yes, it comes of watching too much 'Friends' and other brainless American rubbish on Channel 4! Get a job, you layabout!

George StephensonJuly 7th 2008.

Last Saturday early evening I was on a train in Central Station. Just in the one carriage (in a train of six) two blokes across the aisle were drinking lager from cans, and further down the carriage, a bloke ostentatiously relaxing had his feet on the seat opposite. It appears that enforcement even of popular laws is not in favour with the powers that be! They can't be bothered and all that the public can do is fume impotently!

BJJuly 7th 2008.

Lived in Liverpool for over two years now. And i must say a lot of people here have a total disregard for putting litter in the bin. It makes me laugh the people that get all protective with their city kissing the Liverpool or Everton shirt saying its the best city. And they freely drop litter where ever they feel like it. Which brings me to dog sh*t again Liverpool comes top for the amount seen on pavements. It's unbelievable. It's like playing hopscotch trying to get to and from work. There's a park near where i live and i see it everyday, dog owners letting the dogs crap all over the park and 10 yards away you have kids playing. People need to be educated that dog c*ap causes blindness, asthma, and epileptic fits to children. They would soon change their attitude if it was their kid going blind.

Peggy SueJuly 7th 2008.

More bins needed. They are always overflowing in Church Street. Sorry, I forgot. Church Street doesn't matter any more does it?

PopeyeJuly 7th 2008.

Why is litter always a problem that will always be here? I admit, it's getting better, as Lazzer says, because of the constant cleaning operation, but it's still embarrassing. The chewing gum in particular. I've never seen anything like it anywhere else. Stop being so complacent!!!!

Urbane MusicJuly 7th 2008.

It was 'A Student' that started it, coming in here and being offensive! The fact that his or her written English was so retarded (after 16 years of full-time education too!) started a feeding frenzy from appalled passers by.I agree with anonymous, chewing gum should be £10 a packet.

lets keep liverpool coolJuly 7th 2008.

Nothing will ever change those litterlouts - its the way they were dragged up - I would hate to see their front gardens full of old motor-bike and mattresses!!!!

Stanley DockJuly 7th 2008.

you can tell it's summertime the students have gone home and we're left with wall 2 wall "scousers" like some of the "anonymous" idiots that write in here who can happily scrote the place up while also not inderstanding irony!!

WappingJuly 7th 2008.

I remember hearing often that it was all right to drop litter as it kept the street sweepers in w*rk. In a city where the right to w*rk was considered Holy Writ it will be a cold day in Helsby before our hoodied masses accept that their defilement is actually holding back the fortunes of our great but still small city. The problem is that the offenders simply don't care and no amount of haranguing will make them care. Enforcement is the only answer but then the media will be filled with reports of the "pettiness" of officers charging people who have "only" dropped a cigarette end or a chewing gum wrapper.As for the students, it's clearly a case of monkey see monkey do - the so-called Dagenham Defence of "everyone does it" is not really acceptable in my valuable opinion.

Sefton ResidentJuly 7th 2008.

I full endorse the comments regarding the litter discarded on the streets in Liverpool. It is truly discusting, and I have observed people of all ages culpable, both non-residents and residents. I do wish they would be caught on camera and brought to book.

A Shtirdent, Yeah?July 7th 2008.

its wot seats r for, innit!

Word BirdJuly 7th 2008.

Come on 'A student' or whatever your name is. You can't claim you've been brought up correctly with a good education when you're spelling like a moron.

Disgruntled PedestrianJuly 7th 2008.

It is indeed ignorance, but as the pavements are also full of illegally-careering bicyclists, it is obvious that laws that apply to most people are not enforced against the few that break them, thus encouraging more to break the law.The City Council a couple of years ago threatened to give on-the-spot fines to people dropping litter, but it just turned out to another of Mike ‘horror’ Storey’s schemes to persecute smokers. A smoker who dropped a single matchstick received a three-figure fine in court whilst spitters of chewing gum and strewers of chip papers and junk food cartons (many of them in hard hats and big boots, incidentally) went unimpeded.In the seventies there were lots of characters flogging stuff out of suitcases and bags along Church Street, but they ran like the wind at the first sight of a policeman’s helmet. In the Capital of Culture year we have no police on patrol, a Council that defended unpopular street traders (who don’t pay their rent on their eyesore stalls) we are ankle-deep in litter and the air of Church Street, Bold Street, etc. stinks of cannabis which unlike tobacco is actually illegal, yet no-one is stopped, cautioned or fined.Liverpool has its share of ignorant slobs, but as long as they’re getting away with it why should anyone want to walk a quarter of a mile carrying a wrapper or smelly chip-paper hoping to find a bin?

London RoadJuly 7th 2008.

Just walked into the office and discovered dog**** all over my shoe.

Lex IconJuly 7th 2008.

Mais M. Laz, Liverpool est le Capital EUROPÉEN de la Culture! Mon Dieu!

Sweet AftonJuly 7th 2008.

Exactly, anonymous! Our glorious leaders in the Council took away all those cast metal bins with the liver birds on them and replaced them with cheap-looking plastic things that were set on fire by students, and the remains were taken away and not replaced. Between the cathedrals you have to walk miles to find a bin!Don't get me started on public toilets, which the Council also closed down and sold off.

Sir Howard WayJuly 7th 2008.

Had I seen you I'd have had you flogged! And we aren't "guys", by the way, 'guys' are what we burn on 5th November! You obviously didn't learn much as a student! Permanently drunk I suppose.

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

CHEWING GUM IS ABSOLUTELY EVERY WHERE MAKE IT £10.00 A PACKET. Lets see how much they like to chew then. "BAN IT SAY"

Urbane MusicJuly 7th 2008.

Oi, Nieldsy! You wrote “yer average bubble gum-happy, spit-it-out scouser”, but it is it really the average scouser who spits chewie onto the pavement? Sure enough there are scallies openly doing it, but they aren’t typical Liverpolitans like us though, are they? It disgusts me that the expensive paving in the city centre is polka-dotted with chewing gum (and smashed asunder by illegal pavement-parking, incidentally) but the worst I’ve seen is in Maryland Street by John Moores University Students’ Union and library. You can barely see the pavement between the chewie blobs. Oh, but - er - we’re not allowed to say anything critical about students, are we?

Sir Howard WayJuly 7th 2008.

These universities are obviously attracting the wrong sorts to Liverpool; the abysmal standard of English and the prejudiced, bigoted views are truly appalling in someone supposedly 'educated'. I suppose that since the abolition of grants only the well-off thickoes can get into higher education? Can that possibly excuse the way they use our city centre as a vast lavatory every evening?

BlutoJuly 7th 2008.

******* students!

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