Clean Up Yorkshire: Get your school involved and help clean up Leeds

Some of Bankside Primary School's Magpies, who collect litter from the school.
Some of Bankside Primary School's Magpies, who collect litter from the school.
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EMBEDDING an anti-littering ethos into children while they are young is key to solving Leeds’s litter problem - just ask the Magpies at Bankside Primary.

The group of 25 youngsters were interviewed for the prestigious job of helping the staff at their school keep it litter free, just one of a range of initiatives to get kids thinking about the environment.

The school in Harehills is the first in Leeds to back our Clean Up Yorkshire campaign, which launched on Saturday to encourage our readers to roll up their sleeves and make our city litter free. In partnership with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), we want schools to organise clean up events in June, and let us know how much litter is collected.

The CPRE’s LitterAction.org.uk website includes information for schools, such as advice on assemblies and lesson ideas.

Stop the Drop campaign manager for the CPRE, Samantha Harding, said ingraining the message that littering is wrong while children are young was key.

“Littering is very much a societal thing. In countries like Australia, which was a strong anti-littering ethos, it is simply something you do not do,” she said.

Children at Bankside were also involved in a community clean up, with the support of Leeds Council and the Environment Agency, where they saw enforcement in action when the officer issued an on the spot fine to a fly-tipper.

Assistant head teacher Kauser Jan said: “During the clean up, parents started coming out of their houses with bags and sweeping brushes and joining in, it was fantastic. But our efforts are much more than one day. We now have 25 Magpies, who take great pride in looking after our community.

“If you want to make a impact on children, it has to be something that is sustainable, and that is what we have created at Bankside.”