We tried out the Clean Islington app and what happened next will restore your faith in local government

It’s about time we cleaned Islington, and how better to do it in this age of bins that send email and tanks roaming the streets than with an app?

Islington council have made exactly that, a free app that allows you to report graffiti, fly-tipping and dog fouling using your location and a photo of the offending article. We took it for a spin to find out if it works.

It was a cold afternoon when I trekked the streets of Islington looking for rubbish, and it wasn’t at all long before I found my first overfilled bin. Dutifully, I took a photo.

Bin bags overflowing from a bin.

Just look at it. Hideous. There’s wood there and everything. The sooner this is gone the better, but God knows I’m not touching it. It’d be better if I just send off a report to the council using their new app.

Reporting the rubbish.

It felt powerful. The world needs changing, and if hygiene vigilantes armed with nothing but a smartphone can’t change it, no one can. But I needed another fix, I couldn’t help myself. I dived into some back streets to find more refuse.

I wasn’t disappointed, only a short distance from a primary school were more bags filled with God knows what. Just metres from where tiny defenceless kids frolic and play with naive abandon, some heartless, thoughtless creature has dumped their shredded paper.

Won’t somebody think of the children?Bin bags and the report of them I made

Twice wasn’t enough. I was riding high on a wave of endorphins and righteous pride. I was singlehandedly cleaning up Islington. Sam Walsh, preventer of plague and maintainer of basic street standards, a name that would go down in history. I spotted an overflowing bin.

Overflowing bin with report,

Obscene. It’s not only a health risk, but a tripping hazard as well. This could only get worse if evil tippers were maliciously dumping their rubbish on that most majestic of nature’s giants: the tree.

Rubbish by a tree next to my report of the rubbish,

Disgraceful. More proof, if it were needed, that humans are the most destructive and reckless creatures to ever walk the Earth. Especially North Londoners.

I sat back and waited, content in the knowledge that I’d done my bit for society and, quite possibly, the rest of the world as well.

Forty-eight hours later…

All the rubbish is gone

VICTORY. I have single handedly taken on the litterers of Islington and won. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was the sole reason for the rubbish being removed.

I don’t even care that I’m a rat now and wild gangs of litter obsessed yobs are likely to be hunting for me even as you read this. I’ve made the world a safer, cleaner, less cluttered place. Or at the very least, I’ve moved some rubbish around Islington, and now fewer people will have to look at it.

3 comments on “We tried out the Clean Islington app and what happened next will restore your faith in local government

  1. Getting the council to tidy up litter is a great use of modern tech BUT the best way to stop litter is to stop the idiots dumping it like on my street… Fridges and mattresses included. Oh and dog mess ????

  2. Hello,

    I couldn’t help noticing that several of the photographs you took of ‘fly-tipping’ looks remarkably like a scenario which many Islington residents face with regards refuse collection arrangements.

    I live on one of many main roads in North Islington/Holloway where flats situated above commercial residences do not have the facilities for the conventional “wheelie-bin” or recycling tubs – and thus Islington Council’s instruction is that bags of recycling and rubbish be placed next to the nearest street bin so that they might be collected. The area where our rubbish is collected from, which is a bin on the corner of a pavement is also next to a tree which often comes into use as something to lean larger items of refuse against given that the street cleaners (who use large silver bin bags) also place their rubbish there for collection by the main bin lorries.

    I thought this prescient to add as the term ‘fly-tipping’ usually carries a large fine and in some extreme cases a prison sentence… I’d had to be jailed for following Islington Council’s instructions.

  3. Pingback: Reporting litter: go digital! | MCRagainstrubbish

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