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Bluntly-worded posters go up in Guildford after huge rise in litter as lockdown eases

4 minute read
Bluntly-worded posters go up in Guildford after huge rise in litter as lockdown eases

Published at 2:05pm 3rd July 2020. (Updated at 2:09pm 3rd July 2020)

"Take Litter Home..." the message from Guildford Council, as it launches a bluntly-worded poster campaign to combat what it describes as a growing problem in the borough.  

The council says since lockdown restrictions started to lift, there has been a huge rise in rubbish being left on streets, in parks and in the countryside.

Council leader Caroline Reeves said there had been twice as much litter as an average week in the school holidays - and it was as if "people had forgotten how to behave."

The campaign is endorsed by Surrey Wildlife Trust and Surrey Hills AONB with both organisations adding their logos to GBC's posters as a mark of support. 

tosser anti-litter campaign Guildford Borough Council
The posters display a bluntly-worded message.

Caroline Reeves explained why she felt the bold move was the only option:

"Since restrictions began lifting we have seen an astronomical rise in the amount of litter being thrown in our parks, countryside and streets.

"Littering is illegal, anti-social, has a negative effect on our environment and costs thousands of pounds to clear up.

"You can receive up to £150 fine for dropping litter or up to £2,500 if it goes to court.

"We completely understand how difficult the last few months have been for our residents losing their freedoms and for many very sadly their loved ones.

"Our vulnerable communities in particular have suffered immeasurably and continue to need our support.

"However when lockdown began easing and we could all go outdoors for as long as we wanted to, suddenly we found we had twice as much litter as an average week in the school holidays. 

"It's as if everyone has forgotten how to behave.

"We've asked politely so many times and put out so many statements and messages asking, 'please just take your litter home' but nothing has worked."

She added while most residents were following guidance not everyone was behaving sensibly:

"But there are those that aren't and we need to shock them into seeing sense and simply get them to stop littering - we cannot spend more on clearing up after them. 

"This weekend sees further relaxing of the guidance with our pubs and restaurants opening and we are very concerned the litter problem will escalate even further."

 Sarah Jane Chimbwandira, Chief Executive of the Surrey Wildlife Trust, says she fully supports this campaign: 

"We have real concerns about the exponential increase in ASB, littering and disregard for the countryside. 

"In some places, it is the worst we have ever seen. 

"It is particularly concerning when we are recognising the benefits of nature to our wellbeing, which is not possible when sites are full of litter.

Rob Fairbanks, Director of Surrey Hills AONB, said litter has been a problem recently in the Surrey Hills area:

"We have seen unprecedented numbers of visitors to the Surrey Hills area and there have been major problems dealing with litter, congestion, gates left open and BBQs.

"We ask all our visitors to please respect our countryside, its farmers and our local communities." 

The posters which have gone up around the borough in parks, green spaces and countryside sites,  invite the reader to reflect on why they are throwing the rubbish and give three suggested reasons: 

  • I'm lazy 
  • I don't care about this community 
  •  I think other people should pay to clean up after me 

Cllr Reeves said: "We will not put any of these posters near to playgrounds of course and we apologise in advance for any offence caused by this strong message but we want to make an impact and get residents to take their litter home with them and put it in the bin".