Cleaning Ealing - Volunteer Litter Picking Army Growing

Scores of people now involved in helping to keep local parks and streets tidy


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A Hanwell man who got so fed-up of seeing litter strewn parks whilst out walking his dog has started an intitiative which is sweeping its way through Ealing.

Keith Freegard

Keith Freegard from Manor Court Road, says the regular ugly sight of rubbish all over the Bunny Park and Churchfields area was turning him into 'Mr Angry' and spoiling his enjoyment of the beautiful local environment so he decided he had to do something.


He tells us: '' I started to pick-up one or two items every time I had to clean-up after our dog; because I was walking across to a rubbish bin- so why not take another waste item like a drinks can or a water bottle and deposit that as well?

'' The amount of litter is really amazing – the park bins are emptied every morning , and the council men do a good job of clearing the inevitable over-spill caused by the bins being too small ( especially on sunny days) and the impact of foxes and other animals who raid the bins for easily scavenged food waste during the night.

'' However, in walking just 200 metres across the Bunny Park from my home, I can often collect  2 large grocery bags of litter in just 15 minutes, every day!  I am estimating that for every 10 people who use the park for relaxing and pleasure; there are at least 2 who are habitual litter-bugs.'' 

litter on bench

Keith took to the local social media discussion forum and soon found others who wanted to help out too:

'' I have had lots of helpful and supportive comments from other park users and via social media saying how much people appreciate the effort I am making.  It is also clear that there are many other ‘litter pickers’ working across the borough’s parks and pathways, because you can always tell when there has been a thorough clean-up done in an area. So I am hopeful that more people will join the band of local ‘Wombles’ and always pick-up at least one item of litter every time they use the park – this should help to keep back the growing tide of waste from the 10-20% of park users who always drop litter.''

Kate Watson is one of the scores of local 'Wombles' following in Keith's wake and helped spread the clean-up initiative to the Northfields area. She says:

'' I just got fed up seeing litter lying about and sent a post out on Facebook to see if I could muster any interest from other locals. It was great to hear people were either already picking up rubbish as a matter of course, or would start to do so. I went out this evening with our dog for a walk and had forgotten a bag to put stuff in, so I used a doggy bag and managed to pick up 10 items of litter with a couple of little bags. It is just so easy and simple to do. No one takes a scrap of notice of you doing it either! It's great going home knowing your area is just a bit cleaner than it was when you set off for a walk! And if everyone just picked up even one piece of litter every day, it would really make a difference.''

Keith wants to work with the council to try and deal with the causes and believes whilst some solutions may be simple - for example having larger bins, with flap-type doors to keep out vermin, other aspects of the problem are much longer term – such as trying to educate people that ‘littering is not acceptable’  and changing attitudes and habits.

''On June 22nd there is a meeting of Hobbayne Council Ward at  Brentside School – so anybody who cares about the parks and feels strongly about the litter problem is welcome to attend and contribute to the debate.''


Keith's Top Ten Litter 'Finds'

My ‘top ten’ items of litter collected are :-

  1. Beer cans – nearly all cheap eastern EU brands of lager
  2. Smoking related waste – fag-ends, tobacco-wraps, empty lighters, cigarette packets
  3. Vodka, wine and beer glass bottles – often smashed ‘for fun’.
  4. Soft drink & water plastic bottles
  5. Drug related – gas canisters / small zip-lock polybags
  6. Fast-food packaging – burgers, fish’n’chips, convenience foods, pizza boxes etc
  7. Sweet & crisp wrappers
  8. Coffee cups
  9. Ice lolly wraps and sticks
  10. Wet-wipes and tissues – just loads of these! (What do people need to ‘wipe’ so often??)

Litter Picking Keith at Viaduct

An Ealing Council spokesperson said:

“The council undertakes regular cleaning of  every one of the borough’s parks. We welcome the help of local people in helping to keep these wonderful green spaces free of rubbish and advise a common-sense approach to litter-picking.

''Ealing rightly has a reputation for being one of the greenest boroughs in the capital. We are proud that a record-breaking 18 of our parks have been awarded prestigious Green Flags status, for high standards in parks and green spaces. We’ve won Gold in London in Bloom for three consecutive years and has been nominated to enter Britain in Bloom in both 2016 and 2017.

“The council encourages responsible use of parks and open spaces at all times in order to keep them free of litter.   


2nd June 2017 (updated)

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