As more and more lockdown restrictions are lifted and people go outside more to enjoy Marlborough and its surroundings it is devastating to find an increase in litter and dog waste. Discarded face masks and plastic gloves have been found around the town and in the River Kennet where they could endanger wildlife. And despite the Town Council’s ‘bag it and bin it’ campaign there is still dog waste to be found in popular dog walking areas.
On Friday July 3, two ARK volunteers were strimming vegetation each side of the wooden boardwalk at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve to maintain access for everyone. Ironically the litter they found included not only a face mask but five Corona Extra bottles!
Hayley Lambert, of Packaging Not Included, who picked up a facemask from the pavement in the High Street and posted a photo of it on her Facebook page, told marlborough.news: “It’s so unnecessary for people to deliberately leave their litter when there are plenty of bins, or it is so easy to take it home to recycle where possible.
I was appalled by the tonnes and tonnes of rubbish that had to be picked up from the beach in Bournemouth. Some people show such a lack of respect for the environment and the public spaces that we all share. They think that someone else should tidy up their rubbish. There’s a problem with dog poo as well, which really makes me cross.”
Hayley encourages all of us to join the Sustainable Summer project. “It’s about making very easy changes that will take small amounts of effort, but will have big positive impacts. One change a week for eight weeks.
There are some very simple things that people can do. Examples are – picking up four pieces of litter on every dog walk, switching to a green energy supplier, switching their bank account to an ethical bank, start doing some refills like washing up liquid and hand soap (we have some new brands that are very affordable), plant some wild flowers, swap to a recycled & plastic free toilet roll brand, start using non toxic (home made) cleaning products. “
Hayley is offering all of the ‘Sustainable Summer’ information for free on a page on the ‘Packaging Not Included’ website and she is hoping that people will “take on the challenge, as well as perhaps trying to reduce their single use plastic consumption.”
When the Town Council’s ‘Bag it and bin it’ campaign against dog waste was launched in 2018, Mayor at the time, Mervyn Hall, said, “All of our open spaces are plagued with what can only be described as discourteous and anti-social behaviour. Dog mess can be bagged and put into any bin for collection. Instead we see dog mess everywhere, even hanging in bags on branches of trees. Let’s try to sort it out.”
Legally it is an offence not to remove and dispose of dog mess in a public place and failure to do so can incur fixed fines of £75 rising to £1000 for serious offenders. There is also the health risk as there are several diseases such as campylobacter, salmonella, giardia and worms, which humans and dogs can catch from dog faeces. Children are at greater risk as they are more likely to place dirty hands in their mouths.
Let’s make Marlborough a litter and dog waste free area this summer.