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With Neil Andrews

Little litter picker, aged 3, helps to keep Redbridge streets clean

Tiago Piccaro has been helping to pick rubbish up in the neighbourhood (credit: Redbridge Council)

A three-year-old boy from South Woodford has become potentially the borough’s youngest ever litter picker.

Tiago Piccaro has been helping to clear up in the area after noticing rubbish people had dropped in parks and on the street when out walking with his mum, Elisa.

The duo went out weekly for several months, collecting a total of nearly 30 large bin bags worth of recyclable litter.

“I’ve always made a point of telling Tiago it’s wrong to throw your rubbish on the floor, but whenever we were out, he’d spot litter and would highlight the bad behaviour he was seeing around him”, said Elisa.

Wanting to encourage Tiago’s willingness to look after his local area, Elisa contacted the Council’s Neighbourhood Team to borrow litter pickers.

Elisa continued: “When I showed Tiago the Council litter pickers and explained what they do, he couldn’t wait to start using them. He loved the idea of going out litter picking.”

Speaking his mind about people littering, Tiago said: “It’s not very nice to throw things on the floor and make it messy. You must put rubbish in the bin.”

Among the rubbish they found discarded were plastic drink bottles, glass beer bottles, tissue, food wrappers and containers, along with what Elisa described as “staggering amounts of single-use plastic waste”.

Speaking about people taking ownership of their neighbourhoods, Elisa said: “If a child as young as Tiago can care about where he lives, we should all be able to. I hope his passion for keeping his neighbourhood clean and tidy inspires others.

“As a community we all have a responsibility towards looking after the area we live in. It’s our home. There are bins all over the place in the borough, and if you aren’t near one it’s not hard to just take your rubbish home with you.

“When it comes to littering, the issue isn’t there aren’t enough street cleaners, or the council isn’t doing enough – the problem is the people dropping the litter in the first place. We need to hold ourselves accountable first.”

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