ANTI-LITTER campaigners in Leamington have hit out at event organisers after plastic and other waste was left strewn about a park following a music festival.
Jo Lally who runs the ‘Plastic Free Leamington and Warwick’ campaign – a branch of the national charity ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ – was angry to see the mess left following Fake Festival in Victoria Park on Saturday May 25.
The campaigner said she messaged organisers ahead of the tribute act music event numerous times to urge them to take measures to reduce single use plastic.
She explained: “After the event there was loads of litter, mostly single use plastic, left by the water on a windy day and we all know how plastics go from river to the ocean. They did say they had litter pickers arrive the next day at 12pm but it was too late.
“We do want them to come back but to do what many other festivals are doing such as supplying reusable drink containers and deposit schemes.
“I messaged them lots of times before the event to find ways to reduce waste and avoid single use plastic but they just didn’t reply. It just seems purely commercial. They don’t care about the environment. They do what they do, make money and leave with thousands of more plastic waste we don’t need in the system.
“I welcome festivals coming to our town. They’re great, people love them but we just want them to be more considerate especially as it’s all over the news that these things are going on. And it’s a national festival which means there’s hundreds and thousands of single use plastics being dished out across the country.
“We work really hard to raise awareness and eradicate the use of single-use plastics and then they come along and completely ignore that. It’s a kick in the teeth.”
But organisers have defended themselves against the accusations.
Responding on social media, a festival spokesman said: “During the event we constantly clean up, litter pick and put out numerous amounts of bins attending the festival.
“At the end of the night we also have a sweep of the site used for litter collection.
“During the day of the event, the weather drew a lot of people into the park and litter was being left by some people that had nothing to do with our event. In fact on Saturday morning before the event opened we did a litter pick on the park, which was rubbish left by numerous teenagers when the event wasn’t even on.
“We do take care at all our events, we do pick up final rubbish on the Sunday morning, so you should see the site is cleaned up.”
Warwick District Council insisted it was committed to reducing plastic waste in the district.
A spokeswoman said: “This was a first Fake Festival for our district and we are pleased that it was a success.
“We are however disappointed that there seems to have been a time delay between the de-rigging of the tent and dismantling of the equipment and the clearing of litter from within the festival area. This is something we will revisit to ensure that it does not happen at future events.
“The council made plastic reduction commitments in October 2018 and this included developing Plastic Reduction Event Guidance. We will continue to take steps against littering and single use plastics within the district including ensuring that as far as reasonably practicable events on council land will be single use plastic free.”
Search ‘Plastic Free Leamington and Warwick’for more information on the campaign.