Volunteers battle highway lay-by dumpers

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Photo: Collecting rubbish on Monday at the State Highway 1 rest stop were Bev Skates, Bridget Carter, Andrew Falloon, Rod Carter and Shirley Falloon.

By Mick Jensen

Volunteers from Litter Free Ashburton are flat out collecting and bagging rubbish in an endless battle to clean up the streets in and around Ashburton.

Although the group meets formally once a month, many of its dozen or so volunteers collect litter in between.

A “hot spot” is the rest stop on State Highway 1 near the Ashburton Racecourse.

The drive in lay-by has a shelter and litter bin, but is abused by some litter droppers and illegal rubbish dumpers.

Litter collection volunteer Shirley Falloon says it’s not just picnickers leaving rubbish.

“On Monday we found a dumped old style television set and stand, bagged up domestic rubbish and the usual bottles, cans and fast food wrappers.”

In the past a mattress had been left in the area, she said.

“I cycle past there regularly and the litter just keeps on coming.

“We can clear it up one week and it accumulates again in a short space of time. It’s just ridiculous what people are doing.”

Mrs Falloon was supported by her son, Andrew, MP for Rangitata, and other rubbish collectors at Monday’s clean up.

Over 25 minutes and a 20 metre radius, the collectors amassed seven bags of rubbish and two more of recycled items like bottles and cans.

Typically, 15 bags of rubbished are collected at each pick-up session.

Litter Free Ashburton volunteers wear bright pink bibs to identify themselves. They also wear gloves and use litter grabbers when working.

Collected litter is bagged with bags provided by Ashburton council and left in a marked area for council staff to pick up and dispose of.

Litter Free Ashburton volunteers meet at 1.30pm on the second Monday of each month at the Chess Board on East Street and usually collect until around 3pm. The area along State Highway 1 from Ashburton Racecourse to Ashburton Business Estate is a current main focus for the group.