We have rediscovered the joys of getting outdoors, be it through walking, hiking, cycling to name but a few activities. We have come to appreciate the wealth and beauty of our open spaces and the simple pleasures of meeting friends and family outdoors for a coffee and a chat.
But these wonderful experiences can be spoiled when we are confronted by litter and rubbish that is casually discarded and dumped in our parks and open spaces.
As a country, we have made some progress in managing our waste and discouraging litter and illegal dumping. In adopting a plastic bag tax, we led the way and showed we were ready to make lifestyle changes that would have positive impacts on the environment and tackle one aspect of the litter scourge.
But there is a lot more to do if we are to change attitudes to casual littering and encourage greater responsibility for managing our rubbish, especially where we may not have the convenience of public loos and rubbish bins.
Discarded rubbish can damage our environment and the fragile ecosystems it supports.
Unthinking acts of discarding litter can have long lasting effects that we may not consider. An aluminium can takes 400 to 500 years to break down, a plastic bag can take up to 20 years. A discarded plastic bottle, meanwhile, will last and continue to pollute for many hundreds of years.
Adopting a simple Leave No Trace ethos and taking responsibility for our litter – and taking it home with us – we can avoid these damaging consequences and make a positive difference for the environment and our community.
So, when planning to head outdoors, whether for a walk or a picnic, plan ahead and be considerate of others, and dispose of litter and waste properly. Don’t depend on public bins, they may be full or simply not available.
For larger gatherings like picnics or beach days bring a bin bag with you to gather up your rubbish and bring it all home. That way we leave our outdoor spaces, parks, beaches and countryside litter and rubbish free for those who follow us to enjoy.
In what we do individually, and the example we show, we can make a positive difference that results in benefits for everyone and gives us a cleaner and litter free open spaces. So, let’s do it.
For more information on how you can #LoveThisPlace and #LeaveNoTrace this summer, visit the campaign page.
14 Feb 2023
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