Don’t mess campaign to harness pride of Croydon’s youth
Croydon Council is preparing to launch the next phase of Don’t Mess With Croydon (DMWC), putting the pride of Croydon’s youth at the heart of plans to make the borough cleaner and greener.
A cabinet report this week reveals future plans for the nationally-acclaimed clean streets campaign, which has combined a crackdown on fly-tipping and littering with encouraging communities to keep their neighbourhoods tidy.
A key element of the next phase, dubbed DMWC – Young People Take Pride, will focus on young people, educating them on the importance of recycling, disposing of waste responsibly and helping to keep their neighbourhoods tidy. The council has employed a teacher as a dedicated recycling education officer to develop DMWC lesson plans for schools. The plans link with relevant areas of the curriculum and are currently being trialled.
At the same time, the council is exploring new ways to reach 18-34 year-olds, including Recycle for London’s campaign. This uses technology, including smartphone apps with recycling-related prompts, to break down the ‘lack of time barrier’ cited by this group.
“Since the start of DMWC, we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from Croydon’s community – including young people, many of who have played an active role in the 147 litter picks organised by our clean and green champions. Their energy and enthusiasm is fantastic, as is their pride in their borough and we want to get them more involved.
DMWC is about cracking down on fly-tippers and other offenders – but even more importantly, it’s about teaching people to take responsibility for their rubbish and how the state of their streets impacts their quality of life. And if we start teaching them good habits when they are young, they will stick with them all their life. ”
Councillor Stuart Collins, deputy leader – Clean Green Croydon
The cabinet report revealed DMWC is also focusing on boosting Croydon’s recycling rates. Since January, the council’s recycling team has been visiting neighbourhoods in selected areas within the borough. Officers have contacted households, offering information about the council’s recycling services and helping to overcome any barriers to recycling.
The report also highlighted the council’s £1.28m capital investment in the latest street cleansing equipment. Four new compact mechanical street sweepers are already in use and 25 electric vacuum cleaners for street cleansing operatives will arrive on street this summer, with a further 25 to follow later this year. Also, Croydon will benefit from two extra refuse collection vehicles to collect business waste and three 3.5 tonne cage tippers, ideal for housing sites, alleyways and hard to reach flytips. Earlier this year 80 new solar-powered litter bins arrived in Croydon’s busiest locations.
These new measures build on the campaign’s successes to date, which included the council prosecuting a total of 150 fly-tippers and litterers and seizing 23 vehicles, crushing 17 involved in fly-tipping; recruiting 329 clean and green champions to organise 147 community clean ups; and making it easier for residents and businesses to dispose of their waste responsibly. Latest statistics show that 85 per cent of fly-tips are now cleaned up within 48 hours, compared with three per cent before the start of the campaign.
Cllr Collins said: “Since its launch in 2015, the Don’t Mess With Croydon campaign has gone from strength to strength. I know that this will continue and I can’t wait to see how our work with young people develops in the coming months.”