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Organising Your Own Clean Up

The Borough of Poole Guide for Organising Cleanups

Helpful hints and safety advice for the litter pickers taking 'Pride in Poole'

Planning Ahead

Decide where you would like to do your litter pick. You could clean up and enhance a local landmark, or take on a well known 'black spot' in the borough. Get permission from the landowner for your activities. If you wish to litter pick on Council land you will have to ask permission well in advance of your event as the process for approval may take some time.

Choose how you will carry out your clean-up. It could be a straightforward litter-pick or you could have a theme or set a challenge. Think of ways to make your event as much fun as possible for your volunteers. Choose a date and a time suitable for your volunteers as well.

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Essential Contacts - Who can help?

Contact Environmental & Consumer Protection Services by email or on 01202 261700 to advise them of what you are planning to do. They are able to offer advice and may be able to put you in touch with other volunteers in the area. They can support you by providing gloves, litter pickers, and litter sacks for your event as well as arranging for the disposal of your collection upon completion.

Target local companies who may be able to support your clean-up by providing materials, services or a donation.

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Call for Volunteers - The clean up crew

Try to get as many people, of all ages, to join in your clean-up. You may already be part of a group,  so involve them at the planning stage and make a real team effort.

Look to other groups for support, schools, scouts, environmental groups, and churches, are just a few of the many organisations who could be interested in making an impact on their local environment.

Nearer the event, establish a rallying point where people can meet up on the day. Choose a well-known spot, which will be familiar to everyone.  

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Publicise Your Event

Use posters, word of mouth, community notice boards to advertise your event locally, alternatively ask Environmental & Consumer Protection Services to post your event on these web pages to attract other volunteers.

Hit the headlines - Your clean up event is an excellent opportunity for you, your group or organisation to get some publicity. Approach the local press, TV and radio; you can get the contact numbers from the yellow pages. Alert them at least one week before the event. Invite them along and if they are unable to cover the event, why not send them a brief story and photograph afterwards. Remember, an unusual event, celebrity participation, a good photo opportunity or newsworthy story are more likely to attract media coverage.

If you need help our Public Relations Officers are happy to give advice or useful contacts.  

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Preparations and Precautions

Before the event, visit the site and make a sketch map of the area to be tackled. Note any particularly littered areas, the siting of a litter collection point and a communications posts. Make a note of the nearest toilets and public telephone and any other useful public amenities. This map can then be used on the day to show different groups where they should be working, the set up for the day and the facilities available.

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Risk Assessment

Having chosen a place for your clean up, visit the site and carry out a full risk assessment. This is a careful examination of the possible risks that could cause harm to you or your volunteers. When assessing the risks, look for the following hazards:-

Unidentified cans and canisters, oil drums, poisons, insecticides, clinical waste, other hazardous substances, broken glass, condoms, syringes etc.

Deep or fast flowing water, currents or tides, steep, slippery or unstable banks, sharp rocks, mud holes, derelict buildings, busy roads, electric fences (which are identified by yellow warning signs) etc.

If the area carries too many risks for you and your group choose somewhere else.  

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Hazardous Waste

Make sure everyone is aware of potentially dangerous items, which they should not pick up.

If nasty or dangerous pieces of litter such as unidentified drums, cans, or canisters of chemicals, poisons, or insecticides, or if syringes are spotted at any stage during our litter pick, do not attempt to remove them yourself. Make a note of their location and contact us by email or on 01202 262213.

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Natural Dangers

Avoid holding your litter pick near potentially dangerous places such as steep or slippery banks, fast flowing water or derelict buildings.

Tape can be used to section off any potentially dangerous areas.

Consider the ages of any children involved in your clean up and make sure that a sufficient number of adults are present to supervise. In the case of young children we advise no more then three children to one adult.  

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Other Dangers

Giant Hogweed is an 'injurious weed' that can cause harm to people and animals. Great care should be taken when working near this weed and it should not be touched at any time. Seek medical advice if skin comes into contact with the weed and irritation, rashes or blistering occurs.

Weil's Disease (Leptospirosis) is a very rare infection carried in rats urine and can be fatal. The symptoms include high temperature, severe headaches, flu like illness or muscle pains. They will appear three to 19 days after exposure to contaminated water. It must be treated early.

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Equipment

Make a list of useful equipment and work out who will provide what. You will need a supply of rubbish sack and string, but other items such as racks, shovels, wheelbarrows and ropes may come in useful.

Check if any volunteers can provide their own equipment. Line pins and tape can be used to section off any potentially dangerous areas. Walkie talkies or a mobile phone could be useful if dealing with large areas.

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Be Considerate

If you are working in the country, parks, woodland or open spaces avoid disturbing animals or damaging plants.

Keep gates closed and don't clean up natural 'rubbish' such as logs, stones and weeds. They may look untidy but they are home to many animals and birds.

Before your clean-up get some advice from an expert our Countryside Service may be able to help you or Poole's local branch of Wildlife Trust.

Make sure that your activities don't interfere with people in the vicinity who are not involved in the litter pick. In particular, tell your volunteers not to go on to other people's property uninvited. 

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Insurance

Before an event like this you will need to have adequate insurance cover. Many groups will already have their own public liability insurance. If your group does not have insurance or if you are an individual organising an event you can be included under Tidy Britain Group's public liability insurance free of charge. Make sure you register with them to ensure your cover.  

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Safety

Avoiding danger is all-important for you and your participants. Again before the event, survey the area you are tackling looking for any dangerous pieces of litter such as unidentified cans or canisters, poisons, insecticides, glass, condoms, or syringes.

Before your group begins to litter pick, make sure everyone is aware of the potentially dangerous items which they should not pick up. If these dangerous items are spotted at any stage, before or during your litter pick, do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and inform Environmental & Consumer Protection Services who will arrange for their safe removal.

Take particular care of children and make sure they are well supervised at all times. No more than four children to one adult is advisable. Before your clean-up, make sure children are also aware of which items are potentially dangerous and should not be picked up. Warn them not to pick up any items that they are the least bit unsure of. If such items are found, don't let children litter pick in those areas. Don't let children attempt to pick up heavy or bulky items. Ensure they have at least one adult helper for any weightier items.

If you are working along roadsides, rivers or ponds make sure there are responsible people appointed specifically to keep an eye on safety. Do not allow children to wander freely near such areas.

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First Aid

It is essential that you have a comprehensive first aid kit at your event and that it is sufficient for the number of volunteers. Make sure that the local police know about your event. For larger events you could invite the local branch of the Red Cross or St Johns Ambulance.

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Sensible Clothing

Advise volunteers well in advance to dress for the occasion. They'll need warm, waterproof clothing and strong, comfortable boots or shoes. Strong hard-wearing gloves are essential and fluorescent arm bands should be worn if working in poor light or at dusk.

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The Result

Keep a record of the amount of rubbish you collected. You can do it by sack, weight, or skip load. Make a note of any unusual items you find. Take before and after photographs as these could form the basis of your contact with any local media.

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Disclaimer

This guidance is provided in good faith, we do not however accept responsibility for any problems or any injuries or harm as a result of anything stated herein. All events are carried out at your own risk.

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Contact us

Email
environment@poole.gov.uk

Telephone
01202 261700

Text Relay
18001 01202 261700

Address
Environmental and Consumer Protection
Unit 1
Newfields Business Park
2 Stinsford Road
Poole
BH17 0NF