Litter pickers aiming to help stop the spread of Covid

Litter pickers who are part of a political group have started cleaning surfaces in town centres and local parks with the aim of stopping the spread of Covid.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:07 pm

Litter pickers who are part of a political group have started cleaning surfaces in town centres and local parks with the aim of stopping the spread of Covid.

The members of Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley Together have been wiping down benches, cash machines and playground equipment around the towns.

And while Wigan Council says people should still take personal responsibility for reducing coronavirus transmission, the local authority is supporting the group’s efforts with supplies of anti-bacterial wipes, bags and gloves.

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Volunteers gets spraying with anti-bacterial cleaning products in public spaces

Jayson Lomax Hargreaves, who is qualified as an industrial cleaner, is one of the organisers of the outings which take place every two to three nights.

The 39-year-old, who stood as a candidate in Leigh West at the last Wigan Council elections, explained why they are targeting ‘high-touch’ surfaces.

He said: “During the pandemic we’ve been limited with what we can do.

“We started to notice that some of the high-touch benches were not getting cleaned as much – and not cleaned at all in some cases.

“We decided to do some cleaning of the benches and ATMs.

“We type our PINs in and get our money out and we don’t think about how many other people have touched it. Have they sneezed on it or anything?”

Jayson, who is hoping to be a candidate for Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley Together at the next election in May, says the idea ‘wasn’t a political thing’.

He said: “We just saw something that needed doing.”

The full-time carer is hoping to soon set up an environmental group separate from the political activities of Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley Together. As well as organising litter picks and cleaning, he wants there to be more wildflowering to help build up the bee population in this part of the borough.

But he recognises that the council does not have the resources to do it all.

A Wigan Council spokesperson said: “We were made aware the group wanted do something to support the ongoing effort to keep them safe. We advised the group what they shouldn’t do for health and safety reasons.

“We have supplied the group with anti-bacterial wipes, bags and gloves and advised as long as they followed social distancing guidance they are free to do so if they wish.

“Much like when residents have contacted us about wanting to litter-pick, we won’t say no or not support them as long as they are not going out in groups.”

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