“We need to beat litter; not by expecting people to pick up after us but by not dropping it in the first place,” says Hastings district councillor Wendy Schollum.
Hastings District has just been awarded the Supreme Award 2020 in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards. That award, while recognising that the district is naturally beautiful, is particularly focused on how the community and Council works together to keep it that way.
The judges were particularly impressed with Hastings waste and recycling programmes and its anti-litter campaign.
“It’s all very well having a campaign; now every single one of us needs to act on it,” says Mrs Schollum.
The Don’t be a Cheeky Chucker anti-litter campaign first ran last year. This year it is getting “a healthy kick-along” and Council has committed to doing all it can to get the message out. “There is no easy fix. For some people it seems to be perfectly acceptable to drop whatever rubbish they don’t want any more on the ground – whether that’s in a park, on a street, or on a beach. It is not.”
“We need to change the habits of many generations, and it really is generations when you realise that New Zealand first started trying to get people to do the right thing with litter way back in the 1960s.”
As part of the campaign, Council will be celebrating members of the community who, in their own time, clean up after others, said Mrs Schollum. “But that is not the answer. All of these people doing this good work for our whole community would be the first to say that the only real answer is for people to put their litter in a bin or take it home – not drop it or throw it out of their car.”
The first leg of the campaign starts this week followed by another two-month focus in February and March. That will be followed by a short, sharp campaign in winter focused on not throwing litter out of cars, and then the next summer campaign starting in November 2021. “We need a community litter campaign that makes the very best of the resources we have and makes the most difference. Then, we need to keep doing it until we see change,” said Mrs Schollum.
“As part of the latest litter campaign, we have an anti-hero, Colin the Cheeky Chucker, and a Hastings litter legend, Luke. We will be doing our very best to try and change behaviours, but we cannot do this without the help of the whole community. In the end the message is: Don’t be like Colin; Be like Luke.”
16 November 2020
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