Sixth Big Clean Up bigger than ever before but message remains: bin the butt

Big Clean Up 6 with Good Gym (3) - Copy

Big Clean Up 6 with enthusiastic volunteers including those from the GoodGym, the neighbouring community, Councillor Val Whitehead and council staff.

Tower Hamlets Council held its sixth Big Clean Up between 24 February and 3 March and saw bumper numbers of people join in to collect more litter than ever before.

A total of 197 volunteers came together to save the borough’s streets and green spaces from litter that filled 131 large waste bags, as well as six large green waste bags that each hold 1000kg.

A highlight from Big Clean Up 6 was a session with the GoodGym Tower Hamlets, which for the first time offered attendees a chance to ‘clean up and tone up’. Participants jogged to Wennington Green (near Mile End Park), picked up rubbish, took part in a group fitness session and ran back.

However, ‘micro-rubbish’ was once again a frustration for volunteers at all clean up events, with cigarette butts still one of the most common forms of litter found on our streets despite the potential environmental damage they can cause.

One of the Big Clean Up 6 volunteers was Inayah, from the 8th East London Scout Group, who joined in to litter pick on Whitechapel High Street.

For Inayah, aged eight, the message was clear: “It seemed like people didn’t care about the earth, which is frustrating. People should have picked their litter up themselves and chucked it in the bin.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: "Tower Hamlets is a great borough, filled with amazing places and enthusiastic people. We’re really appreciative of everyone who pitches in during the Big Clean Up events. By working with residents who take pride in their area we are making the borough cleaner and greener."

Councillor David Edgar, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "It’s great to see the civic pride of residents and organisations in Tower Hamlets. The Big Clean Up channels this to give some extra attention to particular areas, on top of the additional investment we are making to clean up the borough."

Tower Hamlets Council would like to thank everyone who took part – including local children, residents, community leaders, councillors and council staff – and the partner organisations that made the sixth Big Clean Up possible: Muslim Council of Britain, East London Mosque, The GoodGym Tower Hamlets, 8th East London Scout Group, 2nd East London Scout Group, The Canal & River Trust, Queen Mary Student Union, Tower Hamlets Homes, Veolia and Keep Britain Tidy.

The council’s first Big Clean Up event was launched in October 2017. It aims to encourage everyone in the community to play their part in keeping the borough clean and green, while highlighting that people who drop rubbish impact everyone in their local community.

If residents, local businesses or partner organisations would like to get involved in hosting a big clean up session or if you have any suggestions of locations in need of a little extra attention, please email

Find out more on Twitter using #TheBigCleanUp.


Posted on Thursday 7th March 2019