A student at Oxford University was forced to pay £80 for dropping a match on the pavement as Oxford’s ‘Cleaner, Greener City Centre’ campaign has kicked off.
Demetrios Samouris, a postgraduate student at Magdalen, described the fine as “quite harsh” but admitted, “I can’t really be that angry. I do understand what they are doing and I guess all rubbish has to be treated equally, whether it is a matchstick or a sandwich wrapper.”
As part of the campaign to clean up the streets of Oxford, Environmental Enforcement officers from Oxford City Council, Street Wardens and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) can issue on-the spot fines to anyone discovered dropping litter, throwing away cigarette butts or committing acts of graffiti. Failure to pay the fine can result in further fines of up to £2,500.
It is estimated that cleaning the city centre currently costs £1 million per year.
Councillor John Tanner, Board Member for the campaign commented, “Everyone’s getting together to make Oxford city centre even cleaner. We want people to stop dropping litter and make the city centre a no go area for litter, chewing gum and cigarette butts. No-one likes to see messy streets.”
Many students are in favour of the plans. “Initiatives like this help bring environmental action closer to home. They remind us that moving towards a safer, cleaner world isn’t just about polar bears, guilt or banner drops, but about protecting our communities and making them more pleasant to live in,” said one student.
Oliver Richards, a 2nd year St Anne’s undergraduate, thinks it is outrageous that the streets have been allowed to reach the situation they are in. “I think it is really important for the streets to be clean in Oxford. The reputation of the city is based around a prestigious University that attracts the best students; students who would be discouraged from applying should our city be covered in an elephantine amount of mess.”
The Oxford Pedestrians Association is also supporting the campaign. In their view, many people are put off walking the streets of Oxford due to the filthiness of the streets, harming local businesses.
Chairman of the group, Paul Cullen argues, “Litter on the streets is becoming a deterrent to some people to even go out.”
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford commented, “The University is aware of the Cleaner, Greener Oxford Campaign and is fully supportive of the City Council’s efforts to clean up Oxford. We urge all members of the University to dispose of their litter responsibly.”