A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) sports coach is leading Leicester’s involvement in a global initiative to rid the planet of litter.
DMU Futsal coach Martyn Ware, along with his partner Hanan Younis and their four children, have become known as ‘Pick NStroll’ for their campaign to clear litter from Leicester’s streets.
They are now calling on the people of Leicester to join them at Bede Park between 11am and 2pm on Saturday 15 September to clear litter from the park as part of World Clean Up Day.
Volunteers around the world will be cleaning up litter and waste from parks, beaches, rivers, forests and streets. The first wave of clean-ups will start in New Zealand and end 36 hours later in Hawaii, with millions of people working towards a clean and healthy planet.
Martyn explained: “This is the first big event that we’ve done. We’ve got 700 people on our Pick NStroll Facebook page so we’re hoping a lot of people will turn out and get involved in the event.
“It’s a fun activity for families and something that anybody can take part in.”
Hanan added: “We’re doing it from 11am until 2pm but you can pop in whenever you want to and do it for as long as you want to. We are taking part in a world movement and even just half-an-hour is still half-an-hour towards changing the world.”
Martyn started litter picking as part of his Sunday morning routine with his son and it quickly developed into a two-hour stroll with numerous stops along the way.
He now sees it as a great way to get some productive exercise while making a positive impact in the community.
“During the summer holiday we’ve brought our four kids along,” he said. “They really enjoy it and we’ve turned into a bit of a treasure hunt.
“It's good health and fitness; getting out walking and getting fresh air. You’re bending down and squatting and lunging to pick up the litter so it’s a good workout.”
Pick NStroll have become well-known for their work in Leicester and the movement is continuing to grow.
Hanan said: “Our children have made it part of their everyday activity during the summer holidays. I posted a couple of things on Facebook and it’s taken off from there. The kids ended up doing interviews on the radio and we’ve got a massive following on social media.
“It’s having a huge impact in the community and it’s getting a lot of people’s attention. People are stopping in the street and either joining us or raising more awareness.”
Martyn and Hanan hope that World Clean Up Day will not only clean up Bede Park but also have a lasting change on people’s mentality towards litter.
“We’re teaching our kids about what we can do instead of littering and affecting the environment,” Hasan explained.
“This is the next part of recycling – if something is still working then take it to a charity shop, if it’s not working then take it to the tip or find a way of someone being able to fix it.
“We want a clean environment for our children to grow up in and we want to leave something positive for them – at the moment it’s not going that way.
“As a family we like to say ‘keep Leicester lovely’ and that’s what we want to do because it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the country. We’ve got so much heritage and we need to maintain it.”
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Martyn said: “Being out in the community we get a lot of positive feedback. We get a few funny looks but on the whole it has been really positive and there are people all over the world that have been inspired to do a little bit in their area.
“The main emphasis of World Clean Up Day is litter blindness, people will walk past stuff when they could just pick it up and put it in the bin.
“Our catchphrase is ‘step up and pick up’ and if everyone did that then we wouldn’t have as much of a problem.
“The aim is to lead by example and be the change. That’s why we do it.”
Martyn is now going into his third season coaching the DMU Futsal team and believes that World Clean Up Day will act as the perfect pre-season training session for his team.
He said: “It’s the beginning of our pre-season period so this is perfect for some team-building and some fitness with a purpose, so it ticks a lot of boxes.
“The boys have said that they want to step up this year and go for the team of the year award. That means them getting more involved in community activities and they have all put their hand up for this event.”
Posted on Tuesday 11th September 2018