A community group has been leading efforts to clean up the city by conducting regular litter picks.
Alison Evans-Hall runs the Sneyd Green group, which wants to create as much social stigma around littering as there currently is around smoking.
The 48-year-old civil servant also hopes her clean-up efforts will help Stokies to feel more proud of their city, and to change negative perceptions of it on the national stage.
She said: “I’m just fed up of people saying that Stoke-on-Trent is a dump. I’ve heard it so many times. We’re always at the bottom of everybody’s list of where you want to live.
“Even local people think that the city is a dump. They do think there’s lots of other problems but litter is a problem that we can all help with.
“Eventually, littering will become as anti-social as smoking is now, but we’re not at that stage.”
Alison has been active in her residents’ association in Sneyd Green since 2016, and is optimistic about the improvements that she has seen in that time.
She said: “Our streets are looking a lot better in Sneyd Green. People are conscious of it because, the more you talk about it and the more you photograph it, the more people take notice and think about what they’re doing.
“Nobody likes to see it. Where I live, I have to drive down Leek New Road. There’s companies there that have got walls falling down, there’s drug paraphernalia, there’s litter that’s blown into the street.”
Alison also hopes to encourage more people to get involved, saying that she has ordered a specialised litter picking station that passers-by can use to do a two-minute clean-up.
“We’ve ordered a litter station from the Two Minute Foundation,” she said. “It’s like an A-frame and you get guardians to look after it and padlock it to a lamp post.
“You’ve got sections for litter piers and bags that can be reused. You put it on social media under the hashtag ‘two-minute litter pick’.”
She added: “Picking up litter one bag at a time, we can change the world.”
Designer Lee Alison Baker also volunteers to litter pick.
She said: “They don’t take pride in where they live and, unfortunately with Covid, the council have got a lot on their plate and it’s been left down to local residents to tidy up after people.
“It’s lazy. If they see litter lying around, then they’re more likely to leave litter themselves, because they think someone else is going to pick it up for me.
“It is annoying, but I love living here so why shouldn’t I look after it? Other people should perhaps change their mindset. If you love living somewhere, just look after it.”
The 43-year-old, from Sneyd Green, added: “They’ve been doing loads, getting loads of volunteers to litter pick because they love living here.
“It’s a brilliant place to live, so why ruin your local wildlife parks or your local green areas, why do that?”