Shocking images are at the centre of a new campaign unveiled to crack down on littering in England.
Launched by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in partnership with environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, and supported by some of the biggest names in retail, travel and entertainment, the campaign features poignant images of wildlife eating and getting tangled in litter, contrasted against typical excuses for people give for dropping litter.
The emotive imagery demonstrates the impact that littering can have on the environment, with the RSPCA responding to 1,500 calls about litter-related incidents affecting animals every year.
This bold approach from Defra and anti-litter charity Keep Britain Tidy has already earned the backing of some of our biggest businesses with Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Greggs, McDonald’s, PepsiCo UK and Network Rail confirmed as the first tranche of campaign partners.
Today the campaign will be on display in train stations nationwide, including commuter hubs such as London Euston, Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street, as well as across partners’ social media channels and on Clear Channel’s Socialite screens. After launch, the campaign will feature at till-points in Gregg’s stores and at Cineworld cinemas through the partnership with PepsiCo UK.
As well as the environmental cost, littering also brings with it a huge financial cost. Keeping the country’s streets clean cost local government almost £700 million last year in England, much of this spent cleaning up avoidable litter. Millions of pieces of litter are dropped every day in England.
The new campaign is urging people to put their litter in a bin, or keep hold of it and put it in a bin when they see one. Empty packets and other litter should always be recycled wherever possible.
Despite the huge cost of cleaning up litter, a worrying 1 in 5 people admit to dropping litter. A recent study also showed 1 in 4 people admit to ‘careful littering’, such as leaving drinks cans or coffee cups on window ledges.
The government wants to make littering culturally unacceptable within a generation, with the initial focus on 16 to 24 year olds. Evidence suggests this age group is more likely to drop litter.
The campaign follows the first ever Litter Strategy for England, published last year, which sets out how government will work to clean up the country, change attitudes towards littering, and strengthen enforcement powers.