Teenager who 'had enough' of fly-tipping is cleaning the streets himself

A teenager resolved to clean up his local streets after getting fed up with fly-tipping.

Daniel Lewis, 17, has been working hard to fight the problem and has now cleared as much as 25 tonnes of rubbish in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

His work ranges from straightforward litter-picking – collecting up to 70 bags of rubbish a week – to installing preventative equipment, such as CCTV cameras to catch offenders.

Daniel has even arranged for skips to be placed in fly-tipping hotspots.

He said: ‘I’ve always been passionate about our local environment and as I was driving with my family over the Merthyr and Gelligaer common, I saw the disgusting amount of waste illicitly dumped there and decided I’d do something about it.

‘I started off in January 2020 paying for skips out of my own money from savings and my apprenticeship.

‘And then from there I advertised what I was doing on Facebook and then local companies got in touch with me and they gave me skips and support.

‘Since putting the CCTV up in the fly-tipping hot spots there haven’t been any prosecutions as people have been deterred so there’s been a drop in fly-tipping straight away.’

Rubbish has long been an issue in the area and was described as ‘jaw-dropping’ and on an ‘industrial scale’ by a councillor.

‘It’s domestic waste, it’s commercial waste and people come all over to dump rubbish here,’ councillor Andrew Barry said of the problem in 2018.

‘This is a beautiful area with lakes and hills, but there’s a mindless minority who think it’s ok to dump rubbish here. And when one person does it, it looks like others have followed.’

Daniel has now been rewarded for his endeavours, winning the young person’s category at the Welsh government’s St David Awards ceremony.

He’s also inspired other youngsters, with five and six-year-olds now going to the park to pick litter.

Merthyr council said it was pleased to have people making the area ‘a cleaner and greener place to live, work and visit’.

‘Our street cleansing teams do a fantastic job, however littering and fly-tipping continues to be a national issue,’ they added.

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