Hatter Cardiovascular Institute PhD student, Mira Katsur, can normally be found hard at work in the lab isolating nano-sized exosomes and investigating their protective properties on the heart. However, over lockdown, Mira’s focus turned to much larger objects within her local community.
While out walking one day in Ely (Cambridgeshire), she noticed an individual collecting rubbish along the road. Seeing this opened her eyes to how much litter was present on roadways and in parks throughout her community. This got her thinking about what she could do to help clean up the environment.
Her first mission was to create a Facebook group within the local community to gauge interest from other community spirited individuals who may also be interested in cleaning up Ely. To her surprise she attracted over 50 members in the first day! Four months later, their membership is over 700 residents and going strong. What began as an initial ad hoc gathering to collect litter, has become an organised group who meet regularly to clean up their parks, playgrounds and streets.
Local businesses have since come on board as well, supplying equipment and materials for the team. Reaching out to other local groups including Scouts and schools, these organisations are now involved and active. Recently, the initiative has spread to nearby villages, and together collectively are affecting a tangible and meaningful improvement in their environments.
This week Mira was interviewed by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to find out more about her grassroots approach and how she’s managed to spearhead a community approach to a shared problem. You can listen to her interview here. Well done Mira!