zero-tolerance to rubbish in Newcastle

May 28, 2008

the rubbish police
Newcastle has stepped up its zero-tolerance approach. Gone are the days of turning a blind eye and just as Rudolph did in New York, the zero-tolerance approach is most certainly in. Just yesterday, 16 year old Max Twizell was fined £50 for dropping a balloon in Newcastle town centre. Take that. The warden, for that is their technical term, we suppose, could have asked the child to pick the balloon up but as you will see, fines need to be imposed to collect the massive amounts of money to pay the army of wardens that have been employed to spy on people who drop rubbish on the city streets. – The more serious, more disruptive, highly despicable, cowardly, lazy fly tippers who decimate the countryside with real rubbish and pollution are not being targeted by operation ‘no bins’.

It isn’t just Newcastle, zero tolerance is spreading. In what could be a comedy sketch from the Little Britain school of thought, Lancashire council has actually deployed a loud haler bolted to the top of a specially designed van. It then gets weird. Not only is the van specially designed but it is manned by a team of “enforcement officers” who hide in these disguised vans and drive slowly around town. When they see someone drop rubbish, they shout at them from inside the van through the microphone mounted to the top of the van. “We can see you”, it blares, “dropping that rubbish.” This insanity is designed to take people by surprised. Who is to blame for this ludicrous scheme? The outcome?

“One man was seen dropping a cigarette end and when I spoke to him from the van, he had absolutely no idea where the voice was coming from.

“He went to pick up the butt and was stood looking at the sky with it in his hand.”

The war is being won. In Liverpool, Council leader Mike Storey is head of a similar scheme that runs 24 hours a day, employs people 24 hours a day because “unfortunately people drop litter at all times of day and night and we have to combat this.” When they are made to jump by the blaring litter van, they are then “named and shamed” on the zero tolerance anti-litter website.

We at TaketheBlame think that all this ridiculous councils should stop wasting money on stupid, blatantly expensive ideas and, well, just pick some rubbish up. Rather than spending money on fancy vans, teams of enforcers, website designers, 24 hour surveillance, sniffer dogs, and an army of press officers, workers and who knows what else? why don’t these people just pick up some rubbish and install a few more bins? How much actual rubbish was removed from our streets in this campaign? How much will be? Whoever heard of educating people to take rubbish home with them (as they are never enough bins) by sneaking around town in an undercover van and trying to make them jump? It’s garbage.

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