Exhibition highlights 'horrible' rubbish problem

Campaign leader Tara Miran smiling, wearing a beige headscarf
Campaign leader Tara Miran said the exhibition was built on 'passion' and 'frustration' [BBC]

A team of residents is campaigning to clear up streets in its local community.

The Better Streets campaign group said they would no longer accept or tolerate overflowing bins, waste and an "epidemic of fly-tipping" on pavements in St Pauls, Bristol.

As part of the campaign, they launched an exhibition at the Vestibules, City Hall, which highlighted the impact of waste through a series of installations.

A spokesperson for Bristol Waste said they "share residents' frustrations" and "encourage the reporting of fly tipping".

A photograph of rubbish dumped near waste bins
Artists used photos of fly-tipping to highlight the problem [BBC]

The exhibition, called Better Streets St Pauls, ran from 1 to 5 July.

It included installations such as a living room full of fly-tipped waste and blown-up photos of rubbish around the area.

Campaign leader Tara Miran said the exhibition was built on the "passion and frustration" about the situation felt by the community.

She explained the work on display was "a call to action" to address the "massive divide" experienced by residents in different areas of the city.

'Broken window syndrome'

Ms Miran said: "I walk up to Clifton everyday and I can feel the change within myself when I walk out of the area.

"I feel free, I just feel less stressed because your environment affects you like that - that shows the intensity of the problem."

She described the issue as "broken window syndrome" - a metaphor for disorder within neighbourhoods.

She added: "Everyone's used to it [the rubbish]... people are coming in to fly-tip.

"They know that St Pauls is the place to go to because you'll get away with it."

Close up shot of Emma Reynolds who is wearing large disc earrings
Emma Reynolds has used residents quotes as part of the exhibition [BBC]

Emma Reynolds, the artist and photographer behind the exhibition, has lived in the area for about 15 years and described the littering as "very bad".

Explaining the motivation behind the artwork on display she said: "We're bringing a human element. We're showing that this is our home, we're people and this is our backdrop.

"We've brought residents' words, we've interviewed and taken screenshots from Facebook discussions to show what people feel and we've put that with the images."

Three photo frames with written quotes from residents. One says "It's so upsetting that they aren't helping in a meaningful way. Our neighbourhood is unsafe levels of dirty."
St Pauls residents wrote about how fly-tipping makes them feel [BBC]

Dan Bourton, who works for the Bristol Disability Equality Forum in St Pauls, said it was generally "a nice area".

But he added: "The streets are terrible."

He described the exhibition as "fantastic" and pointed to the success of a previous campaign run by Ms Miran - Save St Paul's Dentist - of proof that "attention can be brought to the area".

In a bid to tackle waste issues, the group invited Bristol City Council and Bristol Waste employees to engage with them.

A spokesperson from Bristol Waste said: "We share residents’ frustrations about this behaviour, which is both illegal and antisocial, and has such an impact on our city, neighbourhoods and communities.

"We work with communities in the area to manage waste and recycling and help keep Bristol clean and safe."

The spokesperson warned anyone caught fly-tipping could be charged with a criminal offence and fined up to £50,000. They also encouraged people to report it.

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