Mill Lakes cleaner calls time on litter

Georgina Harris shows off the rubbish she has collected on her weekly walk through Mill Lakes park.
Georgina Harris shows off the rubbish she has collected on her weekly walk through Mill Lakes park.

A woman from Bestwood Village who has embarked on a campaign to keep a country park litter free is appealing for help from Ashfield council.

Teacher Georgina Harris lives at the edge of Mill Lakes and walks around it weekly with her boyfriend Tobin Hunt, returning home each time with two bags filled with “plastic bottles, cans, sweet wrappers, filled nappies, broken glass” which they put in their own bin.

She is asking the council if she can be exempted from fines for having unsorted waste or be provided with another bin, or for another bin to be installed.

She said: “We have come to accept that we are unofficial, self-appointed cleaners of it. We simply cannot enjoy a walk now without bags as it is too upsetting to just walk past, and do nothing about, especially with all the beautiful wildlife, the lake and river so close by. It is beautiful park. It’s great that many other people use it, but far too many people see it as a giant litter bin.”

Georgina, 47, thinks the problem is caused because there is only one bin on the large circular walk, and people are “fundamentally lazy and disrespectful and so cannot muster up the requisite oomph to lug their now empty drinks can, that bit further to the bin.” Dog walkers who discard poo bags, or hang them from trees, also earn her anger.

In July 2015, the Dispatch reported on her clean-up operation of the River Leen with a former student, which yielded several shopping trolleys worth of discarded garbage.Her blog can be read at at cleantheleen.wordpress.com

In September she hopes to visit local schools giving free talks about recycling and the impact of littering.

Ashfield Council said it will “seek to work with the couple in the future enabling them to continue the work they are doing to keep Mill Lakes clear of litter.”

While the Mill Lakes area is currently managed by Ashfield, Gedling Borough Council will take over under new arrangements due later this summer.

County councillor John Cottee said: “It’s really encouraging to hear about all the effort made by this couple to look after their local area and this is very much appreciated.”

The council will look into having extra bins installed, he said.