'Dramatic increase' in litter as lockdown restrictions are eased

Litter campaign launched after dramatic increase in litter since lockdown has eased.

Litter campaign launched after dramatic increase in litter since lockdown has eased. - Credit: HDC

Communities across Huntindgonshire have rallied around to tackle a growing litter problem linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Huntingdonshire District Council said there had been a “dramatic” rise in footfall at outdoor open spaces as members of the public used them for daily walks and exercise during the lockdown and this had led to an increase in littering.


But  it said nearly 700 volunteers had taken part in litter picking schemes - more than double the number who were involved over the same period last year.
Neil Sloper, head of operations at the council, said: “With this additional help from local communities we have been able to achieve greater coverage of litter picking and cleaning. 
“We want to say a huge thank you to all who are supporting our street cleansing team and making a real difference to their communities in such a difficult and demanding year.”
Mr Sloper said: “This year we will again be supporting Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, which sees volunteers from all over the country making an impact in their local community.
“We anticipate this year will be our most successful to date, with more of our communities wanting to get involved than ever before.”
The council said Huntingdonshire communities had used the opportunity to act against littering with 689 individual volunteers taking part in a litter pick in their local area, with many more expected to have been involved without being recorded.
It said: “This is more than the 598 litter picking volunteers from the whole of 2020 and much more than the 331 in the comparative period last year.
“Some communities, such as St Ives, Sawtry and St Neots, have formed social media groups of like-minded people to create a coordinated effort against litter hotspots.
“These groups have been extremely effective and the subsequent impact on the environment, loneliness, mental health, and community spirit can be widely felt.”
The council said that with expected lifting of Covid-19 restrictions during the summer, visits to parks, town centres and other outdoor recreational areas were likely to increase, bringing further litter issues.
It said litter not only harmed the natural environment but also affected the mental health benefits of green space and how a town was perceived. It urged residents to put their litter in a bin or take it home with them.
Information about organising a community litter pick or joining the district council in this year’s Great British Spring Clean, which runs from May 28 to June 13, is available from LitterMinimisation@huntingdonshire.gov.uk .

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