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Newbury woman's mission to rid Greenham Common of dog poo bags



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ONE woman is on a mission to rid Greenham Common of a particularly smelly problem – dog poo bags. And so far her campaign has seen her collect more than 1,500 of them.

“Greenham Common has been invaded by dog poo bags,” said Linda Waller. “They are hanging on the bushes like alternative Christmas decorations, under the bushes like little black Christmas presents.

“By February I realised that instead of moaning every time I saw a poo bag, we should do something positive and so I hatched a plan – the Great Greenham Common poo bag pick.

Linda and Cliff Waller with their dog Jimmy at Greenham Common
Linda and Cliff Waller with their dog Jimmy at Greenham Common

“I have picked up about 1,500 poo bags and spoken to more than 100 people on the common now.

“People are being misled by clever marketing and they think the bags are all 100 per cent biodegradeable, but they can still take years to break down.

“The bottom line is you should take them home. It is the sole responsibility of the dog walker to pick up their dog’s poo and to take it away for disposal.

Linda and Cliff Waller picking up the dog poo bags on Greenham Common
Linda and Cliff Waller picking up the dog poo bags on Greenham Common

“My most memorable day was when I collected and carried 108 poo bags for over three miles. Don’t ever tell me that your bag of big dog poo is too heavy or inconvenient to carry….or that your two little dog poo bags are better left neatly placed in a bush.”

Mrs Waller – who walks her own dog Jimmy up on the common with her husband Cliff – has now compiled a report on the issue, pulling together all of the information she has collated since she began her campaign to clear up the common earlier this year.

She highlights the key places where the dog poo is being found, as well as the information she has gained from chatting to other dog owners during her walks.

“I have had good conversations with BBOWT [Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust – which manages the common] but they are hesitant to put more bins at the common for a number of reasons,” she added. “One of the reasons is obviously money, but they also said they have put more up at Snelsmore Common and people still just throw the dog poo bags on the floor.

Linda and Cliff Waller picking up the dog poo bags on Greenham Common
Linda and Cliff Waller picking up the dog poo bags on Greenham Common

“I picked up 40 bags in the car park at Greenham on one session and there are three bins there.”

But it isn’t just dog poo bags that Mrs Waller noticed strewn around the Newbury beauty spot; litter was everywhere too.

“The Control Tower now has bins that it has to pay to have emptied and people just dump their rubbish next to them,” Mrs Waller said. “It’s done with the best intentions but it’s making such a mess.

Linda and Cliff Waller picking up the dog poo bags on Greenham Common
Linda and Cliff Waller picking up the dog poo bags on Greenham Common

“We undertook the project because we were fed up seeing the litter on our common. Although things are much better now, we will still carry on doing it.”

Mrs Waller, who lives in Newbury, sends regular updates to BBOWT and is now trying to enlist the help of West Berkshire Council to try to find a long-term solution to the problem.

She said she was delighted to see schoolchildren are trying to do their bit too, including Isla Sanford and Tilly Lloyd who we featured in the NWN last month, as well some informal groups that she sees litter picking regularly on the common too.

“If you have picked up your dog’s poo today, thank you,” she added. “It is important for everyone’s enjoyment of our lovely Greenham Common.”



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