Brockley's White Pollution

Returning from spotless Sweden, we read about China's war on white pollution: "the term used to describe the visual eyesores caused by Styrofoam trays and carrier bags, which snag on trees and get blown far and wide by the wind."

Later, when we got home, we put on our gardening gloves and scooped up the pile of carrier bags, bin bags, fag packets and evangelical leaflets which regularly accumulates in our front garden, blown in off the street (the former occupier having for some reason decided to remove the front gate).

The Council, in our opinion, do a reasonable job of cleaning the streets of Brockley, but they are fighting an uphill battle against a plague of plastic bags and fried chicken boxes, dropped every day.

So the question is: can we do anything about it? Would a campaign, already proposed by readers, to encourage local shops to stop giving out plastic bags work?

Persuading Brockley's more chi-chi outlets to drop plastic bags would be about as difficult as persuading them to stock Fairtrade coffee and most already use paper. But what about Costcutter, Co-Op or our local corner shop, which will routinely offer us a plastic bag when we pop in to buy one bottle of milk, despite the fact that we always say no?

What about fried chicken places? Is there anything that can be done to encourage customers to use a bin?

The police have recently spent a lot time trying to persuade places of business not to allow DVD sellers (usually people who have recently been trafficked) from operating on their premises, and giving out posters to display in their windows to deter them from entering. Could similar tactics have an impact on litter? Would the Council need to be involved?

Could people power persuade local businesses to change their ways? Would you want them to?