Youngest volunteers set example at Jesmond litter pick

Equipped with litter-pick sticks the same height as them, five-year-old Lilah and her three-year-old sister, Esti, picked paper and plastic waste from the front and back lanes in North Jesmond, becoming the youngest volunteers of Keep Jesmond Clean.

On Saturday morning (November 11th), Esti and Lilah called out excitedly to their dad, Ed Smith, when spotting plastic cans, bottles and take-away boxes on pavements and inside gardens as they tried tackling the litter with their grabbers and successfully put them in a black rubbish bag.

“See, Daddy,” said Esti pointing out to crushed bottles, while her sister tried picking a pizza box which had fallen out of an overflowing bin.

Five-year-old Lilah and her three-year-old sister, Esti

Smith, who has been a resident of Jesmond for seven years, says he brought his daughters along as they are often out walking with him. He told JesmondLocal that he saw the sorry state of some parts of Jesmond when he changed his route to work so he could drop-off Lilah to the local nursery. He said: “I don’t think they like litter much either, and really did enjoy litter picking. They were certainly quite good at using the grabbers.

“I’m mainly on foot and that way I think I get to see more than people who are mostly in their car. And I started asking questions, why is all this litter here? Why are these gardens full of bottles?”

While we were picking litter, we spotted a man bin-dipping in one of the back lanes near West Jesmond Metro Station. The man, who was looking through all the bins, became aggressive when questioned about his motives, so Smith called the police to alert them. “I think the real issue is that bins are left permanently in back lanes and the council do not seem to have much power to address this. If you look at pictures of back lanes maybe 40 years ago, there was nothing in them apart from perhaps a few children playing,” he told JesmondLocal.

Newcastle University Students’ Union president Ronnie Reid joined this weekend’s litter picking. “This year has started off on a good note with a decrease in complaints related to waste,” he told JesmondLocal. “Today was a great example of how local residents, council and students can work together to make Jesmond a much better place to live in.”

He also revealed that in a few months’ time, “Bin Text Reminder” will be up and functioning for students who live in and around Jesmond. One of the features of the app will be alerts about bin collection days and how he and his team are working on tackling fly-tipping when students move out.

Stella Postlethwaite, Labour party councillor for North Jesmond, told JesmondLocal that having Reid along at the litter pick was a positive sign. She said: “We feel more involved with the university and know they we have a commitment from them on coming out with us on a regular basis. It really helps with covering larger areas.”

This weekend’s litter pick, organised by Keep Jesmond Clean, collected 31 bags full of rubbish, from the size of a cigarette butt to huge pizza boxes – plus seven full bags of glass bottles. Streets covered included West Jesmond Avenue, Lyndhurst Avenue, Bayswater Road, Glenthorn Road and Tankerville Terrace.

Keith Jewitt (Keep Jesmond Clean volunteer), Ronnie Reid (NUSU president) and Stella Postlethwaite (Labour party councillor for North Jesmond) gear up for  a Facebook Live post

Ed Smith prepping daughters Lilah and Esti for the litter pick.

The next litter pick will be organised shortly. To get involved, contact


One thought on “Youngest volunteers set example at Jesmond litter pick”

  1. Rochelle Rosario says:

    Such a good parent to teach his children about being responsible for the environment, beautifully written article.

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