Charles kinniburgh picking litter in Manchester

Volunteer litter pickers are stoically taking on the eyesore of street litter. Noora Mykkanen went along with litter picker Charles Kinniburgh to see why they do it and how it’s done.

Strewn across verges at the side of pavements, and clogging up the undergrowth alongside footpaths, litter is such a familiar eyesore to us all that it can seem like an inevitable part of urban life, despite being unnatural.

Charles Kinniburgh, who lives in Manchester and picks litter there, spent most of his career working with nuclear waste as an engineer. He was drawn to litter picking after retiring and going along with his wife to a local litter pick, and refuses to see it is an inevitable stain on our urban environment.

“If litter picking was a hopeless task I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said. “My physical and mental health has improved after getting out, and it’s good to see the environment benefit too, so it’s a win-win.”

While picking litter in Parrs Wood, East Didsbury, Charles’s advised anyone wanting to start litter picking to plan on how to dispose of the collected bag first.  One collected bag of litter can be disposed of at home, while after bigger litter picks councils can offer collection assistance and provide litter pickers and red bags. “Funnily enough I’m very optimistic. A lot of people say to me ‘you’ll never win, you can’t win’ and I always say back to them that you can,” Charles said.

Learn more about litter picking in Manchester – click here

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Featured image and video production: Noora Mykkanen

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  • Noora Mykkanen

    Noora - who hails from Finland - came to Manchester in 2018 after finishing her postgraduate degree in Scotland and working in France at an international organisation. She is currently studying for her NCTJ Multimedia Journalism qualification and mastering shorthand. Prior to joining The Meteor’s Production and Communities Teams Noora covered news at a local radio station and worked in housing research. Radio and languages remain close to her heart while Noora is also passionate about immigration issues, housing and homelessness, foreign affairs and Syria. Twitter: @NooraMykkanen


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