Rallying to clean up our valley

PATTIE Hogan woke early on New Year's Day 2014.

The sun was rising as she laced up her walking shoes, grabbed some gloves and a bunch of plastic bags.

She wanted to start the year in a positive way, so when she woke, she made the decision to step out of her home on Cedar Party Road in Taree to pick-up the rubbish that littered her street. Her 200 metre walk reaped enough rubbish to fill three red council bins and the bags bulged with discarded coffee cups, milkshake containers, beer bottles, slushie containers, takeaway packaging and cans.

That early morning effort was just one day of more than 200 that Pattie has given to the task of trying to clean-up her street and Wingham Road over the past four years. Normally, it's every Tuesday that Pattie gathers a big bag of rubbish before council collection day.

The second Tidy Up Taree Day is this Sunday, although it's not Tuesday, Pattie will be in her street to pick-up the rubbish that other people throw from their cars and she is hoping that all of the residents of Cedar Party Road and Wingham Road will join her.

"I'm not a do-gooder but I want to get the message out that this rubbish dumping is a problem and that we need to be proactive and do something about it," Pattie said.

"I want everyone just to step outside their homes on that day and clean-up the rubbish in their section of the street.

"This is something that I'm passionate about and I want people to look around them and to really see what is lying around their streets."

Pattie says she sees it all and that 90 per cent of the rubbish that people throw from their cars is take-away packaging.

"It's McDonald's, Hungry Jacks, Coke cans and bottles, slushie containers and now I'm starting to see Jack Rabbit coffee cups," Pattie said.

"I don't see why people feel it's OK to use our streets as a rubbish tip. It's disgusting."

Pattie is also the wife of Greater Taree City Council mayor, Paul Hogan, and says that she is always pointing out rubbish to Paul.

"I keep asking him, why are there no signs that tell you about the fines for dumping rubbish? I know the council has no money but something has got to be done!"

That is why Pattie has leant her voice to Tidy Up Taree Day and Clean-Up Australia Day.

Pattie is one of a growing number Manning Valley residents who are keen to clean-up their community this Sunday. She is hoping that Cedar Party Road and Wingham Road will be transformed by the event - not by the efforts of a few, but by the hands of the many people who live on those roads.

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