Making a difference: meet litter picker Simon Brookes

Want to help keep Bristol’s streets clean? Then roll up your sleeves and get involved. It’s simple and rewarding

The more participants the greater the peer pressure to keep the place clean

When Bristol resident Simon Brookes was taking his local pub’s dog for a walk in Blaise Castle he was astounded by all the litter around. So he decided to do something about it.

For three years Simon has been conducting a one-man litter crusade around Blaise, and it seems he is making a real difference to the area. He says that once one person starts taking responsibility others follow.

“These things are easier to get involved in if you see others taking part. The problem is improving, but it will never go away entirely.”

“The more participants the greater the peer pressure to keep the place clean.”

Simon Brookes
Photo: Ramona Andrews

No more broken windows

Simon talks of the “broken window scenario”. One broken window almost sanctions more damage, and often when people see litter on the ground they are more likely to throw it.

He has spent several hundred hours picking up tens of thousands of items of litter in Blaise Castle and the surrounding streets, often identifying an area that needs attention when he is out running.

Photo: Ramona Andrews

Simon is dedicated and picks about twice a week, for 2-3 hours each time. But even a small amount of your time can make a difference.

Next generation of litter pickers

“Changes start with young people and then carry forward in a generation.”

Simon believes it is essential to instill the idea in our young people that it is not acceptable to drop litter.

Photo: Ramona Andrews

After picking up yet another discarded energy drink can, he says “the kids buy the energy drinks, but they don’t have enough energy to throw them away”.

You had to pass a dog poo bin, so why throw this here?

Plastic bags of dog mess are a particular bugbear of Simon’s. He has taken to leaving a sign out for dog owners alongside poo bags he finds strew around Blaise, asking why they have thrown the bags there.

Photo: Ramona Andrews

“Unless people in the community start getting motivated and involved we will never clean the city up.”

If you would like to get involved at Blaise, Simon has a Facebook group - Let’s Keep Blaise Castle Litter Free. Plus, read more about the Bristol Clean Streets campaign and get involved.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/350554695315327/

http://www.bristolwastecompany.co.uk/clean-streets/