Students join the community to tackle litter in Far Cotton

Date 5.10.2021

Geography, Environmental Science, and Biological Sciences students and staff from the University of Northampton joined forces with the Far Cotton Litter Pickers and Northampton Litter Wombles, for a community litter pick to kick off the start of the academic year.

Pounding the pavements of Far Cotton, the litter pickers collected and catalogued all manner of litter discarded in the local area, ranging from takeaway bags to plastic bottles, as well as a tyre and pair of trainers, developing their data collection skills.

For many of the volunteer student litter pickers, it was their first time heading away from Waterside and exploring the community around the campus. First-year Geography student Emily Defusco, who started university this week said: “I haven’t managed to explore this area of Northampton yet, it has been good to get out and explore, it’s been good to chat with the local people involved in the litter pick too.

“I’ve been quite shocked at the amount of litter that we’ve picked up today, especially cigarette butts. I think it’s so important that people understand this tiny piece of litter, carelessly thrown away, actually has a big impact on an area. It’s all about education, we need to educate people about the impact of litter on our environment. I hope that our work today has made a difference.”

The data the students collected about the levels of litter found in the area will be used as part of their studies over the coming academic year. In total, the pickers filled 24 refuse bags of rubbish, which was collected by Veolia, a local waste contractor.

Student Shailen Mistry, a first-year Geography student said: “I’ve enjoyed the litter pick today. I think it’s important to get out into the community and show people that students are around and helping to make Northampton a good place to live.”

John Bright, from the Far cotton Litter Pickers, said: “The joint litter pick between the University of Northampton, Far Cotton Litter Pickers and Northants Litter Wombles was a fantastic, community focused event.

“Not only did we litter pick 24 sacks of rubbish in the Far Cotton area, it was brilliant to see university students and staff, residents, ward councillors, our local Neighbourhood Warden from West Northamptonshire Council and representatives from Far Cotton & Delapre Community Council come together for the benefit of the environment and the local community.”

Greg Spellman, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science, said: “Many of our students will be go on to be key in the management of the environment.  Others will work towards enhancing health and wellbeing for those in our towns and cities.  Starting by addressing local problems at first hand, gives critical insights into what needs to be done to create positive change.”

Nicola Elliott from the Northamptonshire Litter Wombles said: “The Northants Litter Wombles are delighted to be working alongside the students in tackling the litter issue not only around the campus area but in the wider environment. We are looking forward to meeting with the student community throughout the year to provide support both with arranging litter picks and providing data for their studies. It is promising to hear how the students wish to engage and create a positive image within their local community.”

Catch up and watch a video of the litter pick on Instagram here