So far over the summer, volunteers have collected 30 bags of rubbish from the land around Dafen Pond, with an organised litter pick taking place almost once a month since May.
Fly-tipping, dog fouling and litter is a crime that blights our community and lowers the morale of people who live here and can lead to other types of antisocial behaviour. Dafen Pond was chosen as the focus of our efforts against this because of its natural beauty and wildlife in an otherwise environmentally deprived area.
A group of four or five people on each occasion have given up to an hour and a half every month to clear up the mess so that the pond area can be enjoyed by the rest of the community. Thanks must be given to Karen Ephgrave, Gwyon Jenkins, Janet Gammon, Michelle Lloyd, Trixie Evans, Michael James, Susan Lewis, and Andrew Rogers who all took part during the period, and to Andrew Lloyd who organised the events on behalf of Dafen Forum. Thanks should also go to the organisers and volunteers of the Princes Trust Llanelli Team163 who collected ten bags of rubbish from the area in June.
It would have been easy for them to be discouraged. After each clean-up, litter and dog mess has returned within days, and sometimes in an afternoon. The bins provided have been ignored, or have been abused by people filling them with household rubbish. Fishermen regularly leave behind bait tins, tackle and picnic items. Empty beer cans and bottles are frequently found in piles around the fringes of the pond, and stuffed into the bushes. The recycling facility at the pond car park is prone to fly tipping, as is the Cilsaig play area, next to the pond.
Carmarthenshire County Council have been helpful too, providing extra bins at the pond and litter picking equipment for the volunteers. They have also regularly removed illegally dumped items from the recycling facility and have successfully prosecuted a number of people so far, including (according to Your Llanelli) a woman from Felinfoel who was ordered to pay over £800 in fines and costs.
With your help and support, by volunteering, raising awareness of the work being done to challenge the problems, and by reporting offences, efforts at the pond will hopefully continue. If you would like help to organise a litter pick in another part of Dafen, why not get in touch.
Visitor activity at the pond is expected to drop over the coming months as autumn turns to winter, but soon the flora at the pond will start to die back, revealing the litter hidden in the undergrowth. So there is still be work to be done.
The next litter pick will go ahead if there are enough volunteers, towards the end of October. The event will be advertised on Facebook, Twitter and Dafen Community Website.
Dafen Forum is now planning the 2014 Dafen Forum Christmas Fair. We are also currently looking at ways of making improvements around Dafen Pond. Suggested items include extra benches, a bigger litter bin, and new bollards to stop cars driving around the locked gate at the entrance to the pond. A monthly litter pick is being organised to keep on top of the litter that accumulates around the pond and surrounding parkland.New ways of raising money for current and future projects to benefit the area are being explored. These include raising funds through Ebay and other online shopping experiences.