RUBBISH: Alarmed by attitude

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Your recent article described Tynemouth’s Longsands being left like a rubbish dump over the bank holiday weekend, (News Guardian, June 1).

Among the mess were bottles of alcohol, cans of beer, food cartons and broken glass. Not a good look for one of our most beautiful beaches, or an image that will impress its many visitors from outside the area.

There wasn’t one word of apology from North Tyneside Council, which blamed the littering on ‘the sheer volume of people, the number of parked cars making it difficult to access some areas and some bins filling up before we had a chance to reach them’.

In other words, it’s all our own fault for having the impertinence to go on the beach with our families and friends on a nice sunny day.

What an attitude from the council towards its own residents whose council tax charges are supposed to pay for the beach to be kept tidy.

As it happens, I also visited North Shields Fish Quay over the same weekend and if Longsands beach was in a dire state, the Fish Quay was even more disgusting.

There are several large waste bins placed at strategic points along Union Quay. The bins had become full, so rubbish had been placed adjacent to them in black bin bags. Unfortunately, these had been pecked at by seagulls so that their contents spilled out onto the pavement.

There was everything from soiled nappies to food waste scattered around on a day when the Fish Quay was thronged with visitors, most of whom will have been put off their lunch and deterred from ever returning.

If I had contacted the council about it, I would probably have been given the same feeble excuses as for the Longsands litter, i.e. it’s the fault of too many people, too many visitors and too many parked cars.

To that list, the council could also blame too many seagulls and too many rats, as the latter also ply their trade at the Fish Quay.

The council says its staff were ‘working tirelessly’ on the bank holiday weekend. Well, I could see no council wardens at either the beach or the Fish Quay.

In a recent article about the Bell Street regeneration scheme, the mayor Norma Redfearn is quoted as saying that she wants to make the Fish Quay vibrant and diverse, where people want to live, work and visit. I suggest that she gets to grips with her council’s basic environmental responsibilities before making such statements.

Dangerous rubbish and litter on our beaches and on the Fish Quay are not most people’s idea of vibrancy and diversity. Nor can I think of anyone who would want to live, work or visit areas that are a health and safety risk, or which pose an environmental health hazard.

I was amazed that there was no attempt to blame the piles of rubbish at Longsands beach on Tory cuts, which is Norma’s usual excuse.

Jean McLaughlin

Tynemouth