Litter Picking may not be the most exciting of topics. In fact, most of us would prefer to avoid the subject all together. The reality is that it cannot be avoided. Unfortunately there are people who appear to be unable to take home their rubbish or place it in bins provided by the council. By rubbish I mean anything that they do not want. This ranges from cigarette ends, sweet papers, fast-food containers and wrappings to damaged clothing, soiled nappies and doggie bags. Never mind the paraphernalia irresponsibly abandoned by drug abusers.
From April to October on the first Saturday of each month (whenever possible) at 9.30 am we meet at the Swimming Baths Café to do a litter pick.
On our October 2018 Litter Pick we were lucky enough to have Emma Mundy, an Environmental Manager, and her daughter join us for the task. Afterwards, she offered to let us have some more information about litter and this is what she wrote:
Let’s talk litter…
Litter can have a detrimental effect on the environment, both land and seas by disrupting ecosystems. Many species can be negatively affected by litter whether it’s through consumption, becoming trapped or getting injured on items such as broken glass. There are many ways that litter such as plastics can be washed away into rivers, lakes and oceans where it breaks down over time and results in microplastics which become a threat to marine ecosystems and lead to water pollution. Not only does this kill fish and birds, but can end up being consumed by humans through the food chain – even sea salt has now been found to contain plastic. Items like cigarette butts and many plastics contain chemicals which can create long term environmental damage as they take hundreds of years to break down, leaching these chemicals into the environment. During the litter pick cigarette butts were certainly very prevalent across Abbey Fields, with many located near the waterways. We also found many lightweight unused black dog bags, lightweight plastic such as this can easily be blown into water courses or end up being ingested by local wildlife and farm animals. Decomposition of litter over time can also lead to greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.
The thing with littering is that it should be easy to stop, there are many bins around Abbey Fields or rubbish can be taken home, it’s an easy change to implement if you want to help the environment.
Emma and her family are passionate about the environment and she writes about environmental subjects elsewhere. Below are links to two of the articles that she has written.