Why is London so filthy?

Don’t tell me it’s about money or funding, or the fact that it’s a big city.

Tokyo is a wealthy megapolis. It’s clean. Belarus is a small country with relatively litte wealth, yet all the cities are pristinely clean.

It’s about culture. What is it about culture in London that makes filth, rubbish and uncleanliness so acceptable?  

 London is pretty clean compared to most large cities (you should have seen in the 80s and early 90s) - yes Japan is exceptionally clean, which is cultural (their football fans pick up the litter in their area after football games ffs)

You’re right - the levels of litter and filth are disgusting.  Where my place is in London they send street cleaners out literally every day - to the point that there appears to be an assumption that dropping crap all over the place is not a problem 

The filth in the streets, while disgusting, is just about bearable.

But to what extent is this permissive attitude to uncleanliness and sloppiness feeding into other aspects of life? Do you have confidence that the cup of coffee that you buy from your local coffee shop won’t have been touched, on the inside, by someone’s unwashed hands? Do you believe your dentist’s tools will have been properly sterilised? 

I am increasingly doubtful.

the regular unannounced council checks on all catering businesses with results having to be displayed mean food preparation is probably cleaner than ever.  Certainly I used to get far more "stomach upsets" (which I know recognise was mild food poisoning) in the 90s than I do now.

London is, of course, one of the cleanest cities in the world on any objective measure 

I presume Barry is trying to make some racist point about ethnic minorities living in London 

Hi Barry - it is because every time Sadiq Khan tries to do things to reduce pollution, improve air quality etc people like you loudly complain. 

Why do you love high car emissions? Why do you love polluted rivers? Will you be voting Sadiq or even the Green candidate at the next election?

london’s faults and problems, including ne lack of cleanliness, r entirely the fault of the tozzas ‘running’ this country and strangling its economy - of which london is of course the engine room

’But to what extent is this permissive attitude to uncleanliness and sloppiness feeding into other aspects of life?‘

is it gayness or brownness that is the problem here do you think? 

I literally could not give less of a tug if someone touched the inside of my coffee cup. It's got a pint of scalding coffee in it.

What kind of epic cvnt even thinks about this sort of thing?

Barry is worried that if a black person or a gay person touches his coffee cup, he will turn out black or gay 

And we know he absolutely despises both of those things 

London is 1,000 times cleaner than it used to be.  Part of the rubbish problem is down to bins being removed in the 90’s after the IRA put bombs in them.  Charing Cross used to be horrific with no bins at all and several food outlets.

Tbf London's streets are absolutely grim at the moment, but that's because the bin men and street cleaners have been on strike for a week. They've announced a further three weeks to go, so it's going to get a lot worse. It's not just London, either - it's nationwide via Unite.

Tower Hamlets Council has been trying to use the trucks, but striking staff have been blockading the depots so they can't get out.

That doesn't excuse my upstairs neighbours, however, who have been throwing rubbish out their windows since before this all began. I do wonder why some people just don't seem to have "the will to have nice things" these days.

It’s on this point that tourist towns do well, councils spend loads on making the place attractive, entering Britain in Bloom, Saturday night firework displays etc

A variety of factors:

Massive underinvestment in cleaning and environmental services. Doing it on the cheap.

The English mediocre way of doing things.

The Tories turning the country into a shyte-hole.

Massive poverty and inequality creates less revenue to spend and vice versa.

Dirty people, dirty city. That's down to lack of pride, civic or otherwise. Carelessness . Lack of 'education'.

Too many people.

When ‘street food’ is the flavour de jour  it’s inevitable that much of the unwanted detritus and packaging ends up being discarded in the next street.


BarryZuckercorn 24 Sep 23 13:56

......Belarus is a small country with relatively litte wealth, yet all the cities are pristinely clean.


meanwhile in Belarus (did you pick Belarus because it used be called White Rus?)


It’s become worse in the last 10 years. Not just London, across England. 

who is responsible for keeping public spaces clean? Local authorities.


who have had their budgets hollowed out since 2010?

Tokyo is not THAT clean in my experience (although it is a hell of a lot cleaner than London and there is very little litter). Singapore is unbelievably spotless. 

At the risk of stating the obvious it's mainly cultural. People just don't drop litter in the same way (most) British people wouldn't sh1t on the street. But also you can be a street cleaner and live a relatively decent life with some respect and dignity. So people do the job well and take some pride in it.  

I have never been to Belarus but I very much doubt its cities are spotless to be honest. Maybe right in the very centres. Central Moscow was very impressively clean when I was last there (a few years ago now) but it changed very rapidly when you got out of the centre. 


runnersknee24 Sep 23 17:40  Reply | Report

Waterloo is pretty minging particularly around the lost property office 


Risky: Is this lost property?

TfL person:  Yes - what have you lost?

Risky: Umm, my wife and child.

TfL person: Gosh, that's really sad - where did you see them last?

Risky:  Only ever in my imagination. 



Central London is q good because of all the corporate ownership/ BID districts.

Places that are clean aren't better human beings they just send street cleaning vans out at 5am every day (which brings its own annoyance).

My old flat I was tempted to put up a sign asking people to leave their address when dropping their empty kebab wrappers so I could return the favour.  It only happens within the first 50m off any high street though.

I'm amazed by all the people on here complaining about dog poo as I can't remember the last time I saw any that hadn't been bagged up.  I don't spend much time in parks though so can't comment on the weird hobby of hanging the bags from tree branches instead of putting them in the bin and will never understand dog owners who carry it all the way home despite passing multiple bins.

The obvious and real reasons are lack of public services and angry residents all taking it out indirectly on each other by owning dogs and being generally foul (sic).

There is also ofc a mental health crisis thanks to covid and brexit which nobody wants to admit exists. 

And so we say yet again to Work Experience and his cabinet of temps, fvck off out of it and let the professionals take over. 

I agree, Clerghers, re the spaces owned by Cadogan etc all having good security guards who keep public spaces looking lovely and clean.

I also think that fascistic architcture, c.f. Chelsea Barracks, assists with keeping spaces clean on a psychological level.

It is not culturally acceptable to drop litter here.    If you do it a passer by may well tell you off.  It would feel bloody weird to me to do it, same as leaving dog poo on the pavement.   This is very different from 30 years ago.  I just dont recognise a litter strewn Britain.  Everything seems very clean to me compared to thirty years ago when you had to pick your way through dog shit there was litter blowing around everywhere and fag butts covered the place.

There also seems to be less throwing stuff out of car windows as I haven't collected a copy of the Sun, an empty lager can and a sandwich pack from the verge outside for a while.

I also think that fascistic architcture, c.f. Chelsea Barracks, assists with keeping spaces clean on a psychological level.

Judy goes mask off again...

It’s very much culturally accepted to drop litter in some parts of London. Have you been to Tower Hamlets recently, Guy?

And heh at the usual suspects trying to make it about race, disgraceful. I’ve been to Dubai recently and it was very clean and civilised. 

I don’t drink take out coffee but it sounds like many on here like theirs with a dash of faeces.

I'm a country kid and I'm in and out all weekend doing stuff outside and dealing with pets and the cat's corpses, etc. so an unwashed hand touching my coffee cup is kind of insignificant.  My gardener and I were just discussing the joys ot strimming and being spattered with all kinds of things you didn't see in the long grass until you eviscerated them.  However, I think it's partly why my immune system seems pretty robust.

In Singapore that state of cleanliness is kept so by (a) a small army of cleaners, most of which are economic migrants, and (b) heavy and ruthlessly enforced fines (up to S$2000 now for a first time offence, repeat offenders can be done for up to S$10,000, and put to work on the cleanup squad).  

I wouldn't object to Sadiq introducing those measures.  I kind of agree with both Guy and barryrisky (fvck me) as parts of London certainly do need a clean up, especially on weekends.  But just imagine the squawking from the Tory press if a Labour mayor started trying to turn London into Singapore-on-Thames... 

"It’s very much culturally accepted to drop litter in some parts of London. Have you been to Tower Hamlets recently, Guy?"

Ah so this whole thread was, as predicted, just Barry trying to excuse they/their racism 

Poor show, Barry 

Poor show 

New York is currently getting mad because, for the first time ever, it's going to mandatory to put garbage bags into bins instead of piling them up on the street. 

In rural Ireland decent bins are at a premium. People will travel miles to use one with an opening bigger than a can of coke. To stop the caravans I suppose. At the recycling centre they charge you by the kilo. There's always some friendly chap in an orange suit with a litter picker telling holidaymakers where to find the best bins.

Explain how stating that Tower Hamlets has too much rubbish in the streets is racist, Davos, I look forward to hearing from you.

Also my pronouns are he/him, don’t misuse them, bigot.

Hi barry

See what you did is mention 'cultural acceptance' and tower Hamlets 

Now that's a dog whistle

You have previously been very irate about tower Hamlets 

But everyone knows it is a very ethnically diverse place and possibly (?) the most diverse in London 

So what you meant by 'cultural acceptance' was actually about racial cultural 

And it was racist 

There is no race or culture that has littering as an accepted part of its culture

But you know that

Why are you spending so much time in / around Tower Hamlets, Bazza?  I may, of course, be wrong, but I'm assuming you don't live there, but you are downright obsessed with the place!

Demographically, Tower Hamlets has the United Kingdom's largest population of British Bangladeshis, forming the largest single ethnic group in the borough at 32%. The 2011 census showed Tower Hamlets to have the highest proportion of Muslims of any English local authority and was the only location where Muslims outnumbered Christians. The borough has more than 40 mosques, Islamic centres and madrasahs, including the East London Mosque, Britain's largest. Brick Lane's restaurants, neighbouring street market and shops provide the largest range of Bangladeshi cuisine, woodwork, carpets and clothes in Europe.The Lane is also a major centre of hipster subculture.



It's the hipsters isn't it Barry fooking hippies. 

yeah, Baz - I gave that to you.  That's a strike that has been in place for 8 days.  When you talked about the culture of tower hamlets, did you actually mean "the culture of some collective labour groups exercising their right to withdraw labour in the last week"?  Oddly specific, you fooking racist aunt.

Inner London seems to have more spent on it than my bit of very much outer London which never feels very fair. In terms of litter I pick it all up near me, every day of the year. I wish I had CCTV to catch those who drop it . I don't understand why their parents did not bring them up not to drop it.  I remember being in a church with a school choir and the twins and 3 little boys dropped chocolate wrappers in the pew - from what sort of home do you come to think that is okay?