A COUPLE of Greenfield residents, with the help of like-minded friends and volunteers, have taken the responsibility for litter picking into their own hands.
Dismayed by the amount of fly tipping and rubbish at a grot spot on the Saddleworth-Calderdale border, Colin Green and Jane Tonge decided to ‘bash the trash’.
After a successful initial venture when their group collected more than 60 bags of rubbish, the newly formed Trail Trash Bashers have plans to grow their initiative.
It was an Easter walk over Blackstone Edge and the Windy Hill Transmitter, above Denshaw and near junction 22 of the M62, that prompted Colin and Jane to act.
As a keen ultrarunner, Colin frequently runs along the route which is popular with walkers, runners and cyclists as part of the Pennine Way National Trail.
Determined to act, he reached out to friends and contacts in the local running community for volunteers to help clean up the area.
Around 20 volunteers responded including runners, walkers and outdoor enthusiasts from Oldham and Saddleworth plus members from running clubs such as Oldham & Royton Harriers, Greenfield Greyhounds, Saddleworth Runners, Royton Road Runners, and Stainland Lions in Halifax.
Colin said: “It was amazing that so many people volunteered so quickly.
“Many were aware of the problem but didn’t know what to do about it as it’s too big to tackle alone.
“They were keen to join a proactive group of like-minded locals who wanted to clean up the area for the benefit of everyone.”
The group, wearing hi-vis yellow vests, met armed with bin bags, gloves and litter pickers.
In line with Covid security, volunteers were advised to keep two metres apart from people not in their own household or bubble.
Within hours, they transformed the area removing a huge quantity of discarded plastic bottles, cans, coffee cups and crisp packets.
A large amount of paper was removed from wire fencing across nearby moors, and plastic sheeting embedded in mud in the car park was dug up with spades.
Among the more unusual findings were a discarded car seat, cushions, 150 plastic two-litre milk bottles, weighing scales, a number plate and an old Flymo.
Several volunteers took away rubbish bags in their own vehicles while a large pile of bags and heavy items such as tyres and wood were left for Calderdale Council to collect.
Inspired by their success, the group of volunteers have now set their sights on clearing other areas along trails that are blighted by litter and rubbish.
Calling themselves Trail Trash Bashers, they plan to meet once a month to tackle litter hot spots and clean up the countryside for all to enjoy.
Colin and Jane have set up Facebook group ‘Trail Trash Bashers’ to bring together more local volunteers and plan clean-up projects.
In two days, more than 200 people joined the group. The group are on Twitter @TrailTrashBash and using the hashtag #trailtrashbashers to encourage people across the country to clean up their local trails and post before/after photos to celebrate their success.
Anyone wanting to volunteer to bash the trash or suggest trail areas that need a clean-up can join the Facebook group to find out more.