I am not alone in my belief that Britain should be litter free. Television presenter Kirsty Allsopp and travel writer Bill Bryson are both involved in campaigns to stamp out litter and I certainly welcome their involvement in trying to solve a national disgrace.
As Minister for DEFRA (Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), I now have responsibility for cleaning up the mess that disfigures our towns, chokes wildlife, poisons our rivers, and blights our landscape.
Here, Solihull borough’s councillors are often asked by residents to do something about the litter and graffiti which ruin otherwise pleasant neighbourhoods, parks and village centres. Thousands of pounds of your council tax money are spent dealing with the twin problems.
I think the message has to start at home. I tried to teach my children to place litter in bins or bring it back with them for proper disposal. Nowadays, we try to recycle all our rubbish. (At DEFRA every tiny bit of unwanted material is recycled - there is even a bin for pencil sharpenings!)
Parents need to keep reinforcing the anti-litter message until it becomes a habit.
But we mustn’t just blame children and teenagers. Adults are the prime culprits for fly-tipping. How often do we see old household goods just tipped out of the boot into the countryside.
SMBC does what it can to make it easy with a cheap and efficient bulky waste disposal service.
This can be accessed on www.solihull.gov.uk, or by phone: 0121 704 6000. And if you have unwanted furniture and beds which could still be used, Solihull Community Furniture will take it away: tel.0121 788 3333. There is always a need to remember your waste maybe someone else’s necessity.