England’s second most visited city after London has an enviable reputation for its style and vibrancy. But it’s also notorious as one of the most rubbish-strewn places in the country.
Countless visitors have posted critical comments on sites like TripAdvisor: “Just come back from a couple of days in Manchester and was appalled by the state of the streets. Litter everywhere. Is it always this bad?” Another says: “The litter problem is absolutely disgusting. This is the worst city I have ever seen”.
Regular initiatives aimed at cleaning up the city don’t seem to have made much impact on Manchester’s litter mountain – or the attitude of the people responsible for a mess that costs £7.5m a year to tackle. That’s £14 for every Manchester resident.
Back in 2014, the council spent £500,000 on 600 high-capacity litter bins in what was described as a ‘crackdown’ on littering. But they provided no cure for a worsening problem.
Last June, the town hall launched a four-month anti-litter campaign in a bid to change littering behaviour and encourage residents to take pride in their streets. The initiative included ‘Trash Talk Oxford Street’ trialling several schemes to clean up one of the most blighted streets in the city centre. Can anyone spot the difference today?
So what is to be done?
With council budgets under severe pressure, it’s increasingly up to individuals and businesses to get involved. But according to recent research by the environmental change group Hubbub, while 81 per cent of people said litter on the streets made them feel angry and frustrated and 45 per cent said they often cleaned up other people’s litter, 57 per cent would be afraid to confront people who dropped litter.
That’s why we’ve decided to recapture the spirit of 2011 when an army of volunteers helped clean up Manchester after the mayhem and destruction of the August riots.
This time we’ll be calling on another army of Manchester lovers to help us clean one of the city’s worst litter black spots. And we want you choose the place we’re going to blitz.
Which litter black spot would you like us to clean up? Let us have your suggestions in the comments box below. Add a pic if you can.
Save the date: Sunday April 2 2017. That’s when we’ll be doing the I Love MCR Spring Clean. We hope you’ll be able to join us.