From condoms to catheter bags; what volunteers faced today at the second Keep Splott Tidy litter pick

Volunteers were out in force today picking up litter along Cumnock Place and other streets near the railway line during the second Keep Splott Tidy event.  Despite the deep clean carried out in Splott this week, more than 30 bags of rubbish were collected during the two hour pick which saw volunteers tackle a number of known litter hotspots.

Ready to take action

Ready to take action

Whereas the first pick was dominated by discarded fast food and drinks packaging, today volunteers faced a far more unsavoury challenge.

The India Centre at the top of Sanquhar Street has had problems with litter and dumping before and the managers of the centre were delighted when Gareth Davies of Keep Wales Tidy offered the group’s services to clean up the car park and the small area at the back of the building, especially as a festival is scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday 25th September.

A couple of core volunteers stepped up to the challenge (no kids allowed on this part) and were astounded (and more than a little grossed out) to find more than thirty discarded condoms and wrappers, sanitary items and an adult nappy in the grounds at the back of the centre, while other litter pickers working in a nearby area came across a full catheter bag.  Thank goodness for litter pickers and heavy duty gloves!

The back of the centre is obviously a hotspot for night time activity (the obligatory empty cans of Special Brew were also found lurking in the bushes) and the debris is disgusting.  Volunteers felt really sorry for the folks running and attending the India Centre facing those kind of left-behinds every morning and vowed to return on a future litter pick and lend a hand in cleaning it up.

The Black Bridge - after

The Black Bridge – after

Also tackled today was the overgrowth on the Black Bridge into Adamsdown (known locally as the Troll Bridge apparently!).  A few group members cut back the overgrowing weeds, nettles, brambles and other shrubbery spilling out into the bridge and made it safer for users.  Once the bushes were clipped, a lot more litter was spotted lurking in the shadows and this was duly collected, improving the look of the area and making the bridge a more welcoming prospect.  Unfortunately even the hardiest of the group couldn’t lift out the dumped motorbike found tangled in the brambles so it had to be left for the professionals.

Other members of the group scoured the streets coming off Cumnock Place and collected any stray litter missed as part of the deep clean.  With so many volunteers (well over twenty again today), the target area was done in a jiffy and the group moved across to East Tyndall Street for the last hour, collecting 35 bags of litter in total.  Items collected include an umbrella, a broken traffic cone, an ironing board, empty vodka bottles and a road sign.

Half time at today's pick

Half time at today’s pick

Keep Splott Tidy 2 had lots of support from residents with returning volunteers and newcomers, including sisters Queeny, 8, and Hatty, 5, accompanied by their mother Emma.  So impressed was one local lady living in Hickory Court that she came out of her house and gave the girls 50p each for their hard work, saying that she had been watching from the window and wanted to reward them for doing such a good job.  A number of passers-by stopped to say hello and ask what was going on, complimenting volunteers on taking positive action.

Councillors Bob and Huw

Councillors Bob and Huw

Despite the huge yuck factor of some of the pick, it was still fun and fulfilling and a great way to get to know neighbours.  It was also encouraging to see some beautiful gardens and front of house displays; a much-needed reminder that many, many residents of Splott take pride in their homes and don’t dump litter in the streets.

The second Keep Splott Tidy litter pick was supported by local Splott councillor Huw Thomas, Keep Wales Tidy and Cardiff Council, with local waste officer Dennis picking up the collected bags in his truck and lending a hand to cut back the overgrowth. Councillor Bob Derbyshire and Jon Maidment of the Parks department also took up litter pickers, got involved and pledged their future support.

The Cottage

The Cottage

After the pick, the group headed off to local pub, The Cottage, for a few drinks and free coffee, biccies and bowls of chips, kindly provided by managers Rhys and Dane, who are keen to support local initiatives and offered the pub as a home for future Keep Splott Tidy events (watch this space for news of the first Keep Splott Tidy fundraiser quiz!).

Time Credits were handed out to the hard-working volunteers, which can be redeemed at a number of centres and businesses across Cardiff, including local acupuncture business Acu Cardiff, the Premiere Cinema in the Capitol Centre and the International Swimming Pool in the Bay.  For more information on Spice Time Credits, visit here.


Keep Splott Tidy will continue to work locally on the last weekend of the month to help clean up the streets of Splott but can only tackle loose litter lying on the streets and not some of the bigger problems.  Fly tipping has increased this week, especially in Swansea Street, and residents want something done.  Local MP Stephen Doughty tweeted that he has recently met with Cardiff Council to discuss concerns over the fly tipping issue, as have Councillors Edward Stubbs and Huw Thomas, and we look forward to hearing more about the steps being taken to curb illegal dumping.

Taking it to the tip!

Taking it to the tip!

Ending on a high note, after the litter pick the streets of Splott were (mostly) spotless and three weary but happy volunteers were delighted to strike up a conversation with a man loading his boot with clearout rubbish, soon to be on his way to the tip.  On being thanked for his responsible behaviour, he burst out laughing and replied ‘well I’m hardly likely to dump it outside on the street am I?’  Good to know that there are good people out there.

Once again, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who came out today and helped clean the streets of Splott.  It wasn’t nice, it wasn’t pretty, but we did it anyway because we #lovewherewelive and won’t let it be ruined by litter louts!

The next Keep Splott Tidy litter pick will be on Saturday the 29th October from 10am to 12noon and will target Splott Road, Habershon Street and surrounding streets.  We will meet at the back of the old STAR Centre on Splott Road.

For more information on Keep Wales Tidy, click here.

To see more photos from today’s litter pick, click here.

Sanquhar St - after

Sanquhar St – after