Going Green: It’s never too early to start litter picking

Encourage children to dispose of their litter correctly. Photo: AdobeEncourage children to dispose of their litter correctly. Photo: Adobe
Encourage children to dispose of their litter correctly. Photo: Adobe
Is littering getting worse? It seems motorway verges and parks are a total mess these days? Earlier this year, John Read from the campaign group Clean Up Britain said the UK is going through a litter ‘epidemic’.

Studies have found a massive 48 percent of the UK population admit to dropping litter. That’s just under half of us that think it’s ok to discard a wrapper on the ground rather than put it in a pocket and wait for a bin.

There are more than two million pieces of litter dropped every single day in the UK, so it’s no wonder it can feel like we’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping our streets, parks, woodland and countryside clean.

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And it’s not just for aesthetics we need cleaner streets - the RSPCA receives ten calls a day about animals affected by litter and we know litter can pollute waterways and rivers.

All things considered, it’s no surprise most of us can’t stray far from our own front doors without seeing the effects of littering. Whether it’s cans or wrappers on the street or fly tipping in the countryside. There are more recycling options today than there have ever been so why is the situation so bad?

Roadsides are under the jurisdiction of local authorities and unfortunately they’ve seen around a 26 percent cut to their budgets in 2010. That means things like litter picking have dropped down the priority list. It’s not right by any means but local authorities have their hands tied with prices going up, more need for their services and their budgets being slashed.

It's not all doom and gloom though – there are local groups across the country organising voluntary litter picks to get communities on side with taking care of their own environments. Clean Up UK https://www.cleanupuk.org.uk have a list of community hubs where organised litter picks are happening and they also have resources for you to start your own community hub if there isn’t one near you.

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Organised picks aren’t for everyone though and the great thing is anyone can become a #litterhero which is what Keep Britain Tidy is calling their army of volunteer litter pickers.

Whether it’s picking up a single piece every time you’re out for a walk or whether it’s taking a bin bag to your local park or woods or beach, everyone can do something about the state of the countryside around them.

It’s never too early to start engaging kids too, they’re less likely to drop it as they grow if they’ve taken part in picking it up when they’re young.

There’s no doubting the state of litter dropping in our country is bad – but the more of us that do our bit, whether that’s one piece or a bag full – the better off we’ll all be.

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