Clean up the UK? I'm a true believer! Bishop calls on communities to join in the great litter pickby Xantha Leatham For The Daily Mail
- Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, praised the Great British September Clean
- The Bishop said that the environment is a ‘core part’ of being a Christian
- Praise comes as clean-up starts its first full week after being launched on Friday
Getting out to clean up our communities is a ‘wake-up call to all of us’, one of the country’s leading bishops has said.
Speaking on behalf of the Church of England, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, praised the Great British September Clean.
He said the environment is a ‘core part’ of being a Christian and that the campaign coincides with the Church’s Season of Creation, which focuses on the natural world.
His praise comes as the clean-up starts its first full week after being launched on Friday.
Former environment secretary Michael Gove kicked off the campaign last week by clearing up rubbish in his Surrey Heath constituency.
He was joined by an army of volunteers who turned out across the country to help clean up the country as part of the drive by the Daily Mail and Keep Britain Tidy.
The push received backing from the CofE – which looks after 16,000 churches and 42 cathedrals in England – earlier this year. Church leaders were delighted to hear the event was still going ahead after being postponed due to the pandemic. Dr Smith said yesterday: ‘Caring for the environment is a core part of being a Christian.
‘It can be expressed in simply showing consideration for the natural world and thinking of others when it comes to disposing of our litter.
‘Let’s make our legacy a clean, green and pleasant land.’
He added: ‘In my role as a member of the House of Lords I try to draw attention to the damage done by fly-tipping.
‘It only takes a few moments in conversations with farmers and people who live in rural areas to hear of the ruinous consequences of this criminal act. The Great British September Clean is a wake-up call to all of us, reminding us that litter isn’t just unsightly – it’s a serious environmental hazard.’
He said this year’s campaign has ‘the added advantage of coinciding with the Church’s Season of Creation’, where parishes focus on climate change, environment, and the natural world.
The clean-up had been set to take place in March and April.
At the time, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby urged Christians to ‘litter pick for Lent’. For the first time, he called on worshippers to do something for the environment in place of more traditional gestures such as giving up chocolate or alcohol.
As part of ‘Green Lent’ he recommended church-goers go on a beach clean, or clean up a river or pond in their area.
Speaking at Lambeth Palace, the archbishop said: ‘We urgently need to rebuild our relationship with our planet. Whatever age you are, this Lent I hope you’ll engage with God’s plea for us to care for his creation, and that these campaign resources will help you on that journey.’
The Great British September Clean will run until Sunday, September 27.
Boy, 6, who loves being a little picker...
Determined to keep his hometown clean, six-year-old William Sharkey rarely leaves the house without his litter-picker and bin bags.
The little eco-warrior is often left ‘upset’ by the sight of rubbish – and won’t walk past a piece without picking it up.
William embodies the ethos of the Great British September Clean, heading out with big sister Isabelle, 13, every week to make sure the area near their home in Hornsea, East Yorkshire, is kept neat and tidy – free from litter.
Their mother Clare Harris, 42, said: ‘I used to walk home from school with William when he was four and my pockets would be stuffed full with rubbish. He just would not let us walk past it, he gets really upset by it and won’t leave it alone.
‘So I just decided to invest in some litter pickers and bags so we could do it properly.’ She added: ‘We live in a beautiful place and we like to keep it that way.’
She said William was disheartened by a recent surge in litter in their area as lockdown eased, adding: ‘It really felt like we were getting somewhere as a society... there is now twice as much litter as there was.’