As lockdown eases CPRE Gloucestershire urge people to clean up their litter
CPRE Gloucestershire has seen a large increase in reports of piles of litter being left behind in local green spaces and the countryside in the last few weeks.
As lockdown measures are eased slightly and we are able to meet a restricted number of people outdoors, many people are making much more use of their local green spaces such as parks and commons as well as local beauty spots for socially distanced gatherings. But with this has come a steep increase in piles of rubbish being left behind, spoiling the countryside and posing a threat to wildlife.
We have received numerous reports from members of the public who have visited their local green space only to find piles of rubbish including food packaging, drinks bottles and cartons, plastic containers and used BBQs. In some cases the rubbish has been bagged up by whoever left it, as if waiting for the next person to come along and pick it up.
Whilst we urge people to take responsibility for their own rubbish, this current situation has led us to a new recruitment drive for volunteer Green Clean Coordinators to organise local litter picks.
Patricia Broadfoot, Chair of CPRE Gloucestershire, the countryside charity, said:
‘Our local green spaces and countryside next door really have shown their worth over lockdown. It has been so heartening to see more people getting out into these spaces, many of whom may be doing so for the first time. But with this increased footfall comes the serious challenge of a rise in litter. To tackle the blight of litter, we are urging everyone to take their litter home with them and dispose of it responsibly. Central government can play its part by taking a tough stance on litter and bringing forward proven methods of boosting recycling like an all-inclusive deposit return scheme. By harnessing this enthusiasm for the countryside and ensuring we promote recycling and responsible behavior, we can reach a litter free countryside.’
The countryside and local green spaces have been appreciated more during Covid-19 than ever before. Recent CPRE research found that in the South West 70% of adults think their local green space or nearby countryside could be enhanced, with the majority wanting to see more wildlife and a greater variety of plant life in their local green space. More research by CPRE and the WI found that 57% of people reported that the lockdown has made them more aware of the importance of local green spaces for our mental health and wellbeing, and nearly two-thirds of people (63%) felt that protecting local green spaces should be a higher priority for the government when lockdown ends.
CPRE Gloucestershire is encouraged by the public’s enthusiasm for the countryside and would like to see people continue to enjoy local green spaces for social distance contact with friends and family, but urging those making use of such spaces to be prepared, take bags with you, bag up your rubbish when you’ve finished, and take it to the nearest bin or home with you (recycle where possible) and to leave the space how you found it.
Leaving rubbish behind not only spoils the countryside and green spaces, it is a serious threat to local wildlife as well as posing a potential virus spreading risk as other people inevitably will have to pick up the rubbish and dispose of it.