We must complain about Northampton’s rubbish

editorial image

Unless one of the residents calls the council, our streets would not be cleaned and the residual litter would gradually be carried away by the wind.

I am convinced that in the majority of streets in Northampton residents don’t complain at the council, the constantly dirty and littered state of the town’s public spaces suggests so. Anyway, coming back to the wind, this natural phenomenon comes in most cases from the west. The A43/A45 are in theeast of Northampton. Finally, the Nene Valley is also in the east meaning that the geological cross-section of Northampton is downhill from town centre toward the A43/A45 which are built in an artificial ditch.

The combination of a crude waste collection system where residents are encouraged to put light weight plastic and paper out on the street in open boxes (rather than colour coded plastic sacks as elsewhere in both the UK and Europe); the wind coming mostly from the west; gravity supporting the wind carrying residual plastic and paper to the east and finally the A43/A45 dual carriage way being the catchment basin for all that litter over more than a decade, i.e. since the open plastic waste collection boxes were introduced.

Some of your photographs on your website show old sofas and large items having been dumped.

This is what the Americans call the “broken window effect” – meaning that one broken window not being repaired encourages other windows being targeted by thugs, potentially dragging down an entire suburb. Translated into our situation in Northampton, it means that the litter caused by the effects described above encourages people to use that area as a dump.

Some readers wrote on your website that they “feel ashamed being British”. Others pointed out that the A45 becomes clean the more you approach Peterborough. I think what we should be ashamed of is our borough bouncil who are responsible for this environmental crime by maintaining an utterly grotesque waste collection system and by lacking both ambition and responsibility to keep Northampton clean and well-maintained.

The assumption that Northamptonians throw milk bottles, beer cans and newspapers out of their car windows whereas people from Peterborough don’t, is nonsense.