Despite it being over a month since the festive season, Christmas trees across Merton have yet to be collected by the council. This has posed a significant inconvenience to residents, as the trees have been seen to block footpaths, walkways, and roads.


However, what has caused the most controversy amongst the locals, is who is to blame for the abundance of Christmas trees littering Merton’s pavements


Local resident Paul, put it down to the “shortage of staff at Veolia (the company picking up the trees), due to retirement and sickness caused by COVID.” However, a few weeks ago it was quoted by the council director that the Veolia drivers’ shortage had eased, so can Veolia still be blamed?


Other people are blaming the local population for not being more proactive about disposing of their trees. Wimbledon dweller, Tracie, said “Surely we are all capable of disposing of them ourselves. I burnt mine in my Garden!”


Whilst this could seem an easy fix to get rid of the neglected trees, the council discourages the act of burning Christmas trees above all other means of disposal. This is due to the environment and safety risks of burning a tree unprofessionally in a residential area, since Christmas trees have a “firework effect” when set alight.


On speaking to numerous residents, the consensus as to why there are so many trees on the streets seems to be people not putting their trees out within the allocated dates, which according to Arlene “is annoying but inevitable, when you live in a large community, such as Merton.”


With no real fix to getting the dying, dehydrated plants out of Merton’s way and off the streets, is this just another example of an environmental inconvenience caused by the 50-60 million Christmas trees cut down per year in Europe alone?


On top of the festive symbols causing havoc on the streets, they also can create serious environment imbalances and climate changes in the areas they grow, not to mention increasing the globe’s post-Christmas carbon footprint by 6%, as they decompose, unrecycled, and produce methane.


Therefore, rather than talking about who is to blame for Christmas trees strewn on Merton’s streets, should we really be pondering whether we are all to blame for continuing the environmentally detrimental tradition?