50 volunteers join litter picking group in just 24 hours
- Credit: ELY LITTER PICKERS FACEBOOK
Fifty "knowledgeable and enthusiastic" volunteers joined an Ely woman's litter picking group just 24 hours after she launched it on social media.
Miroslava Katsur decided to create the Facebook group Ely Litter Pickers after she and her partner spent several hours picking up rubbish from Roswell Pits.
During five months of being at home, Miroslava - who moved to the city just before the first Covid-19 lockdown - spent a lot of her time outside birdwatching and doing wildlife photography.
She also found time to "get more educated on environmental issues and become more eco-friendly".
Then, in January of this year, Miroslava saw a man with a litterpicker and thought 'I wonder who he works for'.
"I came home and tried to find information of how to get involved with litterpicking and quickly realised that he was probably a solo volunteer.
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"I found no groups who have done litterpicking in Ely since the pandemic started."
Miroslava then asked her partner to litterpick with her, which he agreed to. Soon after, the couple got litterpickers and went to Roswell Pits.
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"I took two large bags, which my partner thought was excessive for two to three hours of litterpicking.
"However, we got them full within less than 30 minutes. Most of the rubbish was beer bottles and cans.
"That made me realise how blind I am to the trash around me. I quickly understood that it would take forever for me and my partner to make Roswell Pits a tidier place.
"I know about why rubbish is bad for wildlife and environment, and I've understood that I need to do more to sort out this problem."
Since setting up the Facebook page on January 31, Miroslava's group attracted "knowledgeable and enthusiastic people who gave me lots of ideas and advice".
She was also contacted by another group who introduced her to the idea of "adopting" streets/areas of Ely, meaning that "people keep them tidy when they can".
Dog walkers and parents, she added, prefer "roaming" roles, i.e. pick as you go anywhere you want; this means that our volunteers pick litter alone or within their support bubble.
Miroslava has also been in touch with City of Ely councillors and East Cambs district councillors who "expressed their desire to support me and provided me with lots of useful information".
She added that, when lockdown is over, the group plans to organise regular litter picking events and socials, all in accordance with Covid-19 regulations.
"Since we are new group, we will borrow equipment from the two councils until we have our own equipment," Miroslava added.
"Several people stepped forward to help me secure funds, make the group successful and fun. We want to make the group inclusive and attractive for people of all ages."
Miroslava added that the group has been approached by a Coveney-based composer and theatre-maker who "wants to create a piece of theatre inspired by a child who went litter-picking.
"We hope that children in our group can share their stories about litterpicking and/or their thoughts about littering, so that it may inspire a play. I have plenty of other ideas, too."
To join the group's Facebook page, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/elylitterpicking