Putney Needs Wombles

Sunny weather and reduced social lockdown rules have resulted in increased litter

Picnic eaten ....... litter left (June 1st Twitter)


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The recent increase in numbers allowed to mingle (with social distancing) and the unseasonably warm weather has resulted in a huge increase of visitors to the commons in Putney and the towpath from Putney to Barnes. Both areas are now struggling with the litter left behind.

Regular walkers on Putney Common have commented that Bill the ranger has morphed into a Womble collecting litter and emptying the bins - leaving him no time to concentrate on his regular chores.

At least they tried to use the bins!

The Wimbledon & Putney Commons Conservators website says that the most pressing issue for their staff is the emptying of litter and dog-waste bins. With the significant increase in visitors our staff are now having to empty bins at least once if not twice a day, compared to twice a week prior to the pandemic. They ask visitors to the commons to "..take your litter and any dog-waste home with you for disposal if at all possible allowing the bins to be left available for emergency situations."

The regular volunteer army of litter pickers on the foreshore and towpath; AKA Putney Tidy Towpath are unable to assemble due to the 2m spacing issues on the towpath and the detritus left behind has upset the founders and residents alike.

One resident walking on Putney Common today (4th June) commented: "It appears that the majority of rubbish is being left by bins that are overflowing, perhaps more bins need to be provided on a temporary basis? I know that will alienate some residents concerned about 'commercialising' the common but if they are only temporary then perhaps we can accept them rather than having litter being blown over the common or dragged by wildlife. But the preferable thing would be to take the litter home - you carried it here and it was heavier then so please carry it home!"

Since re-opening The Spencer Pub has been putting 2 bins on the common where they normally place the benches. This is meant to be for their disposable glasses however the majority of the rubbish placed in those bins are pizza boxes and/or Sainsbury’s bags with empty food containers.

The Spencer Pub bins before they reopened!

A spokesperson for The Spencer told this website: "I was horrified to see all the rubbish piled up inside our bins and around our bin area when we started to get ready to reopen. As you may have noticed, the pub was boarded up for 2 months and we cancelled our refuse collection as we were not generating any waste. I came back to work on Wednesday 27th May and was shocked to find a lot of pizza boxes and cans and bottles outside our pub (please see the attached picture). We had to try to pile it up into our bins and move a lot of waste onto our sister site as we could not get the collection until this week and simply did not want to leave a pile of bin bags next to the dispensing area."

She continued: "I think there should definitely be a lot more bins around the common and maybe instructions on posters and on social media to remind people to take care of their environment and not just rely on others to clean up after them. There is plenty of young families in Putney – what sort of example do the residents give to children? We have contacted conservators to enquire about the lack of bins on the common."

We have contacted WPCC to find what extra facilities they can offer.

June 7, 2020

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