A group of people in Wimbledon, including MP Stephen Hammond, joined forces on Saturday to help pick litter ahead of Keep Britain Tidy’s upcoming campaign.
The Great British Spring Clean 2019 will take place between 22 March and 23 April, as it aims to attract people to help in cleaning the streets of their local areas.
During the 95-minute session, the group of 14 volunteers found all types of materials such as cigarette butts, plastic bottles and pieces of paper.
Despite statistics from RECOUP, a plastic recycling charity, showing a record 351,907 tonnes of plastic being recycled in Britain last year, there are still a huge number of plastics being discarded on the roads.
“The impact on our children, on the environment and on wildlife is just horrendous,” said Alexandra Naylor, a volunteer in the clean-up event on Saturday.
“We’ve seen wildlife suffering as they are getting plastic rings caught on their neck, they’re eating it, they’re getting too heavy because they’re eating plastics and they can’t fly.
“The knock on impact for everyone in society and the environment is atrocious.”
Plastics are just one of the types of rubbish found on the streets, and Stephanie Upton-Prowse, organiser of the Keep Britain Tidy event in Wimbledon, believes it is time for people to take it upon themselves to make a difference.
Stephanie explained: “I think that everyone needs to get involved and do their bit because the local council’s resources are obviously limited and money is going to help older people and schools.
“If we didn’t have people throwing litter in the first place, we’d have a lot more money around to help everybody else.
“Everyone’s just got to take responsibility, make it unacceptable to chuck litter and if there’s litter around in your area, go around with a few friends to help pick it up.”
Sometimes people are unsure what to do with their rubbish and find that bins across their area are full, but Alexandra thinks there is no excuse for not being responsible with rubbish.
“I understand that bins are full and people won’t know where to put rubbish,” she said.
“But take it home, do something with it rather than just chucking it out of your car or window.
“We really have to wake up and do our part, so if everyone just did a little bit, the difference would be massive.”
Siobhan Kinsella, one of the volunteers who brought her daughter along, said: “There is an awful lot of rubbish strewn around the area and it’s actually quite depressing how much rubbish is on the streets.
“I think a lot more needs to be done to make sure that we are looking after our area.
“People need to take responsibility for their own areas, I think that’s really important and even if everyone would pick up after themselves and didn’t throw rubbish in the first place, I think it would make a huge difference.”
Last year, 374,000 people volunteered across Britain to help with this scheme, and this year it is hoped half a million people will participate.
Stephanie’s message is clear and simple.
“I think if we all just took responsibility, ideally if we didn’t chuck litter in the first place we wouldn’t have this problem but we do.
“It’s really important that we get it cleaned up.”