This shows the scale of the flytipping problem in Grays

As austerity continues to erode local authority services, we’ve noticed a rise in the number of residents and volunteers stepping up to the plate to do what they can to plug the gap. We’ve already seen what can be achieved when residents band together to take over and enhance a formerly neglected local park – Hardie Park in Stanford-le-Hope is just one example of this.

Another heartening example is the Orchards Forum in Grays who have been undertaking a blitz on the flytipping in the back alleys in their part of town over the last few weekends: Volunteers busy cleaning up local community. In an ideal world, residents wouldn’t have to give up their weekends to clear up rubbish left by anti-social individuals who have no sense of what a community is, let alone showing any sign of responsibility towards it. The problem is that we live in a dysfunctional world that’s far from ideal.

Thankfully, there are people at the grassroots who will get stuck in to the hard graft of making their neighbourhoods and boroughs better places to live in. If all of these grassroots volunteers suddenly stopped giving up their time, the adverse effects of this would start to be felt and seen within days. These people are the glue that keeps things together.

Their efforts are part of the slog of not just plugging the gaps but also, starting to build a new world in the shell of the crumbling, dystopian one we’re currently inhabiting. With their spirit of voluntarism, community solidarity and mutual co-operation, it could be argued that they are anarchists – it’s just that they don’t know it!

Just some of the rubbish that has been collected and bagged by volunteers from the Orchard Forum