The level of rubbish and plastic being created does not seem to be in anyway decreasing.

Locally, as the lockdown restrictions eased more people came out into our open spaces to socialise. Unfortunately, too many left their rubbish behind.

Some of the things that people dump are incredible. On one of our monthly litter picks there was a full set of china plates and cups left in the middle of George Green.

The masks that have become essential wear over the period of the pandemic are liberally dumped on the ground, for others to pick up.

What is it that makes people believe they are so entitled that putting rubbish in the bin or taking it home is beneath them?

At one point, Redbridge Council was taking more litter off Christchurch Green than Valentines Park.

Plastic is another problem. The planet is getting clogged up with plastic, being used and discarded on land and in the sea.

There are efforts to cut single use plastic but progress is slow. One initiative we can all take part in is Plastic Free July, which seeks to cut single use for that month.

What is really needed to address the problems of litter and plastic is to stop creating the stuff in the first place. Recycling is very good and should be encouraged but a step further is to not create the rubbish at all.

The Cleaner Greener Wanstead initiative sought to address the joint problems of plastic waste and litter. An early initiative was to try to get shops in Wanstead High Street to not use single plastic.

One Saturday, as part of a nationwide project, activists took the plastic back to a number of supermarkets.

The stores listened and said they would take the argument on board. Some progress is being made at a national level but what about here?

There is still a lot of single use plastic in High Street, Wanstead - the plastic lids on take away coffee cups spring to mind.

Some of the initiatives begun pre-pandemic have stalled due to the crisis but now is time to redouble our efforts.

We need to take real action to cut the amount of waste being created and when that is not possible, deal responsibly with the residue.

There is only one planet and we all have a responsibility to look after it.

Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See