I hope you’ve enjoyed the recent glorious sunrises as much as I have and that you’re looking forward to a Saturday which promises to be bright and crisp. I will certainly get outdoors to watch school rugby in the morning and then for a walk in the country in the afternoon. I am sure that many of us value hugely the positives which come from being close to nature, and I am always therefore vexed when I see litter strewn carelessly or the detritus which blights a park after a sunny afternoon.

Did you know that three contestants representing Britain had just beaten 20 other countries to win the first world cup for litter-picking? The SpoGomi competition originated in Japan and is named after ‘sport’ and the Japanese word for rubbish, ‘gomi’. It requires teams to collect as much litter as possible in an hour in a 5sq km area in Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district. They then have a limited time to separate it and weigh it. The British team (now ‘Samurai litter-pickers') came first by nearly 3,000 points, bagging 28kg more rubbish than runners-up, Japan. 1,746 teams worldwide took part in the heats which preceded this final, the majority coming from Japan.

We have this year introduced a community service option run by prefects instead of detention, and this has included litter-picking. I know too of pupils who have done this as part of their Duke of Edinburgh volunteering outside school. Perhaps we should introduce a house competition, overseen by our Eco Group? Ideally, of course, it would be very boring, as teams wouldn’t find anything.

To my simple mind, there is really no excuse for dropping litter or carelessly leaving things behind for others to clear up. However, I loved the Wombles as a child, and they were certainly ahead of their time in providing a recycling and upcycling service on Wimbledon Common:

Wombles are organised, work as a team,
Wombles are tidy and wombles are clean,
Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.

I would really like LGS to be completely litter-free. We have a fabulous environment for everyone to enjoy, yet I still sometimes have to talk to pupils in assembly about bits of paper left behind by lockers, wrappers dropped or plastic bottles left on the field. We have plenty of bins, where pupils can separate waste for recycling too; they have to care enough to do so. Please support us by ensuring that children come to school equipped with a refillable bottle and discuss with them the importance of looking after their beautiful planet – for the benefit of all of us and generations to come.

Best wishes for a sunny, litter-free weekend,

John Watson