John Knight's June 2018 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express.

19 June 2018

Our Residents’ Survey tells us that near the top of Macclesfield folk’s concerns - just behind the future of our health services - is litter.  We agree - a healthy, happy population needs a clean, healthy environment to thrive in.  Cheshire East actually runs a very good kerbside waste collection service, with regular emptying of bins and just the one “silver” bin for all recyclables.  However, they are maybe not so hot when it comes to dealing with litter dropped on the pavement or in the park. 

But it’s not just about cleaning up the rubbish that has already been dropped.  We need to look for ways to reduce the amount of packaging that so much of our everyday goods come wrapped in. 

For example, in the UK as a whole, 35 million plastic bottles are bought every day – that’s 200 per person every year – and 44% of these are not recycled. This means 16 million plastic bottles every day end up in our environment, whether sent to landfill, incinerated or simply dumped in the countryside, parks, streets or beaches.

We need to move towards a culture of recycling, reusing and refilling.   Cheshire East or the Town Council could introduce a bottle deposit scheme, free public water dispensers and a community refill scheme.  Nationally and globally, we must work to phase out unnecessary single-use plastics.  Perhaps, like other areas, Macclesfield could have a “Clean Team” of volunteers who come together to help keep their local areas clean. 

It was tragic to learn of the death of most of the carp in Ryle’s Pool in South Park the other week.  We have a responsibility for the wellbeing of creatures we keep in captivity - let’s hope the aerators that have now been installed help the remaining fish to live out full healthy lives.