Local community group Paddle Peak are often out and about cleaning our local river Derwent of plastic and other forms of pollution that ultimately wash down the river and out to sea. Since the Covid-19 lockdown has eased Paddle Peak’s founder and Matlock Bath local Pete Astles, has been exercising in his kayak up and down the Derwent through Matlock Bath. Cleaning out chip trays, cans and beer bottles as he goes. Clearly dropped into the river along the promenade by some of the influx of visitors in recent days.
On cycling to work this morning through Matlock Bath, I noticed that the bins were overflowing with chip trays, paper, plastic bottles and cans. Clearly there are not enough bins, or they need emptying more often, and or some bins may need repositioning.
A restaurant owner came out from one of the Fish & Chip shops with a leaf blower. I thought he was going to clean up the mess. How wrong was I!! He just blew it down the street away from his premises towards the overflowing bin. I questioned his actions and he angrily replied, “ it ’s not my mess. The council should clean it up. I pay my council tax!! “ Shocked, I asked him for a bin bag and said "I’d do it myself". He responded go to the shops and buy a bin bag!”. Wow. I was fairly stunned by this guys attitude and lack of care for his community and environment.
Paddle Peak’s future goal is to work with and inspire local Matlock Bath businesses into reducing and using plastic free packaging, plus them taking responsibility for the waste that their customers mindlessly discard on the pavement or into the river. The council needs to help with more bins, correctly placed with recycling options for compostable chip trays and cups. Fun and educational signage could be added along the prom highlighting that plastic in the river ultimately ends up in the fish that visitors to Matlock Bath are eating. Watch this space...
Caring for our community and environment is a team effort. If we’re going to win the battle against litter and plastic pollution we need to inspire everyone to have the same goal… We must all work together including the councils, businesses and the public. There will always be a minority who do not care and have the “ it’s not my problem attitude “. The only solution for this is for the rest of us who do care to help more. If you see any rubbish on the ground. Pick it up, put it in a bin or take it home. Our community and valley will be a far cleaner place. Thank you.
Pete Astles. Paddle Peak Founder.