The Army of litter pickers which has taken 25,000 bags of rubbish off the streets of Hartlepool
An ever-growing Hartlepool group has made huge inroads in the fight to keep the town litter-free.
Members of the Hartlepool Big Town Tidy Up group have cleaned up 25,000 bags of rubbish since the Facebook forum was created in February 2019.
Organisers hope to have reached 40,000 bags by the end of 2021 as more and more members join the fight.
Group co-founder Danny Oram said: “When you crunch the numbers, that is a lot of litter. We have some people who regularly collecting 200 bags a month themselves.
"We have got steadfast members who are doing it daily and then we get others who do the odd bag here and there.”
There are other members who help by sharing social media posts, collecting individual items of rubbish, or who help by simply not dropping litter themselves, said Danny.
Whichever way they support the group, every member is appreciated by group officials.
But the figures have rocketed since then and membership has gone up by 250 per cent to 2,500.
Danny added: “That is down to a mix of the publicity from the Hartlepool Mail, word of mouth and people who are becoming more environmentally conscious. The aim is to get to 3,000 members by the end of the year.”
It is also;
*Supporting a crack down on fly tipping across Hartlepool;
*Recycling cans which brings money in to the group to buy more litter picking equipment;
*Working with Poolie Time Exchange which has backed the crackdown on litter and which has formed a partnership with HBTTU. PTE bought 30 hi-viz vests as well as litter picking devices and 30 hoops to be used by HBTTU members.
PTE also agreed to have its vans available for picking up rubbish when HBTTU holds one of its regular clean-up blitzes in town.
"We are growing slowly but surely,” Danny added.
HBTTU was formed in February 2019 by Jason Bland and Danny Oram. The band of volunteers has the support Hartlepool Borough Council and wants to get across the message that ‘this is everyone’s fight’.
The group’s ethos is litter collecting is seen as positive, therapeutic and a chance to make a difference to the community.
Members have collected everything from a guitar to a plastic banana skin, while a pregnancy test and part of a shopping trolley have also been found by anti-litter campaigners.
The list also includes the cartridge from a caravan toilet, a printer, microwave, toaster, and bolt cutter.
But the most common finds are litter from people who have discarded fast food cartons or cans of drink.
Christine Creamer is one of the active members who can regularly be seen doing her bit. She said she and her partner have ‘cleared a few grot spots in our area’ and said ‘household items’ were among the regular items they have collected.
To find out more about the group, including how to join, visit the Hartlepool Big Town Tidy Up Facebook page.