People are being urged to organise a community litter pick as part of a new campaign to reduce litter in the district.
Wakefield Council’s new #LitterPickMeUp campaign aims to tackle the costly problem of litter.
At a launch event earlier this week, the council’s Streetscene team collected half a tonne of litter from a one mile stretch of road.
Coun Maureen Cummings joined the litter pick on Hemsworth Lane, Fitzwilliam on Monday, where she helped to collect almost 200 bags of discarded fast food packaging, cigarette ends, sweet and crisp wrappers and more.
She said: “Today with the help of enthusiastic colleagues we’ve been able to clear bags and bags of litter, but it shouldn’t be there in the first place.
“I was amazed that small items such as chocolate wrappers and cigarette butts can accumulate into so much waste.
“I want everyone to take personal responsibility and stop the drop.
“Don’t throw litter through the car window or drop it on the road; keep it with you until you find a bin.
“If everyone does their bit and picks up one more thing, the Wakefield District will be a nicer place to live, work and visit and we’ll all feel good.”
It costs Wakefield Council £4.5m each year to keep the district clean. Around £2.7m of this is spent on collecting litter, with further money spent on cleaning town centres, emptying bins and clearing fly tipping.
The #LitterPickMeUp campaign urges people to take responsibility for their own rubbish, and to help clear up litter that they find in public places.
Residents, businesses and local communities are being encouraged to organise a litter pick, to help “fight against the crime of littering.”
Coun Cummings said: “Throughout this year we will step up our efforts to work with residents and businesses, persuading everyone to accept personal responsibility for litter.
“By doing small things together we can all make a big difference.”
Visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/pickmeup to find out more about the campaign, or to get involved.
THE REAL COST OF LITTERING:
It is estimated that food, drinks and their packing account for 65 per cent of litter in the UK.
But other things that count as litter might come as more of a surprise.
Discarded cigarette ends, bags of dog mess and chewing gum all qualify as litter under UK law, and if you are seen dropping these items, you could face a fine of up to £100.
Discarded smoking paraphernalia account for 12 per cent of litter collected.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2016-17, local authorities spent £682 million keeping our streets clean, an average of £29 per household. Highways England also spend £6 million on collecting litter each year.