NOW the weather is improving and the evenings getting lighter, litter is back, and with a vengeance.

Litter is a criminal offence that carries a £100 fixed penalty notice in Woking, or can result in a court prosecution that carries a £2,500 maximum fine (and a criminal charge).

Most litter is dropped by a small number of residents, and by children, and they are spoiling things for the majority of law-abiding citizens.

We have bottles, drinks cans, food packaging and sweet wrappers being left alongside our roads and along pathways. Along main roads the litter is being thrown from cars, usually following a visit to a fast-food outlet. We are now seeing more cigarette packets thrown down and disposable vapes being “disposed of” on the pavement. The latter contain a Lithium-Ion battery (a hazardous waste) and need to be disposed of as if a battery – not just thrown on the pavement.

Whilst we continue to rely on schools to educate children about litter, there are many youths and young adults who clearly have not learn. What we, the law-abiding citizens, need to do is be part of the solution. We can all pick up litter and dispose of it properly.

You don’t need permission; you don’t need training; you don’t need a licence. You bend down and pick it up and put it in a bin.

Woking BC provide lots of bins in key locations, and these are emptied regularly. When you go out for a walk, take a plastic bag and pick up the litter. Gloves are recommended, and you can use a “litter picker” to save you bending down. When you reach a convenient litter bin dispose of it all there. If you do a regular walk, especially a dog walk, then do a regular litter pick. This is all the more important if an early morning dog walk in a park or along a track.

Whilst all this will not stop the kids throwing litter out the car or casually dropping it on the pavement, it will definitely improve the situation, and stop the area getting worse.

Litter begets more litter. The crime statistics show that areas with a litter problem are also areas with a crime/ASB problem. Think about visiting other towns. What is your impression of that town if you see litter lying around? So let’s not let visitors to Woking see lots of litter.

So go on, stop whinging about litter and pick it up. Tell Woking BC if there is a persistent litter problem in your area.