The brilliant volunteers of Woodston proved that together we can make our environment a better place, with a two hour blitz on the south riverbank last Saturday morning. Working with the probation service’s Community Payback team, we cleared a huge pile of rubbish, collecting up piles of cans, clothes and bedding, food wrappers and glass. Well done to everyone.
However, we also found a shocking amount of drug paraphernalia in the undergrowth. Uncapped dirty needles, syringes, drug spoons and over 70 needle disposal boxes, the majority left empty! We have a problem of drink and drug use just off a well-used public footpath.
We carefully collected up what was easy to see and safely disposed of the needles in the correct sharps bins, but what is clear is the drug users here are completely irresponsible. There are genuine public health risks from needle-stick and blood borne diseases. I am now asking public health, the Prevention and Enforcement Service and providers of support to drug addicts and the homeless to get on top of this. I am also asking for the landowners to do some clearance work so that these areas on the riverbank are no longer welcome to drug users.
It is really important to report problems on the riverbank to police via the 101 telephone system or to the Council via the My Peterborough smartphone application. We need a response, but the Prevention and Enforcement Service needs the evidence to prioritise patrols in the area, and the drug and homeless support services to deal with the longer term problems of the users here. Let’s make our riverside safe and clean so everyone can enjoy the green spaces we have in the city. In the meantime, please don’t let children or dogs go into the undergrowth.