Help us fight litter in our borough

Release Date: 07 August 2020

Residents in Richmond upon Thames are being asked to help fight the influx of litter that is being left behind in our parks and open spaces.

Following the ease of the COVID-19 restrictions and the recent sunny weather, Richmond Council has noticed a rise in the amount of litter being strewn across the borough.

Last weekend, the Council’s waste and collection team cleared triple the usual number of bags of litter from bins and surrounding areas in our parks.

Whilst additional temporary bins have been installed at key sites, many park visitors are still leaving behind bottles, food, packets and bags when they find the bins already full. The litter is not only unsightly, but it is also a hazard to local wildlife and a potential risk to human health. We would urge all our park users to take your rubbish home and recycle where possible.

However, a growing number of community-spirited residents are coming forward and offering to help by volunteering to coordinate litter picks. To help facilitate these activities, the Council and the South West London Environment Network (SWLEN), have written guidance to help people plan and organise their events – safely.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee for Richmond Council, said:

"Our parks and open spaces have played a vital role for residents during lockdown.

"However, the amount of additional waste that is being left behind in our parks is enormous. Our parks and open spaces, and our staff, deserve to be treated with respect.

"With the gradual relaxation of the lockdown restrictions, we have been disappointed with the behaviour of a minority, which has placed extra pressure on our staff and resources at a time when we are still dealing with a national emergency.

"We want all our residents to be able to enjoy our parks and open spaces safely, so I’d urge all visitors to behave responsibly, consider others, take litter home and adhere to the Government guidance on social distancing and hygiene.

"I thank everyone who has helped us by litter-picking in our parks recently, and I hope that this guidance is useful for other like-minded residents who want to help us address this problem and keep our parks beautiful."

Colin Cooper from SWLEN, added:

"We regularly support community-minded people and local groups to litter-pick helping to keep their parks and neighbourhood clean. We hope this new guidance (and documentation in one place) will make it easier for these existing activities, as well as new litter-picking activity, to help keep the places we love clean and protect the environment. If residents or groups would like any help in getting a litter-pick going, including the loan of littler-pickers and bags, we standby ready to assist."

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P311/20

Updated: 28 August 2020