‘SEMI-bankrupt’ councils are wasting millions of pounds on cleaning up litter.
So says environmentalist John Read, founder of Clean up Britain which is dedicated to changing litter-dropping habits through its ‘Now or Never’ campaign being trialled in Leamington.
As part of the recently announced autumn budget, the government has pledged a new tax on plastic packaging, along with £10million to reduce fly-tipping and a further £40million to boost recycling, fund research and introduce ‘innovative’ ways of reducing litter such as ‘smart bins’ which collect data on waste patterns.
While Mr Read has welcomed the environmental budget, he stressed the government needed to focus on educating and creating long-lasting change.
He said: “Councils are currently spending £800million a year on cleaning up litter, including £200,000 spent by Warwick District Council, which is an obscene amount of wasted money when most councils are semi-bankrupt.
“The general public needs to understand that austerity is not over when Britain owes £1.74trillion, over £30,000 for every child and adult in the UK, and politicians need to start telling people the truth about the very precarious state of Britain’s finances.
“Instead, we need to focus on taking innovative approaches to sustainable behavioural change which is what we’re doing in Leamington with our Now or Never Campaign which launched earlier this year.
“If we can address the issue of litter at a grass root level, we can prevent this wasted expenditure through educating on the issues of litter and creating real and sustainable change.”
The project has so far included posters showing images of animals injured by metal cans and plastic and encouraging businesses to commit to reduce plastic packaging or switch to biodegradable materials.
The campaign also aims to educate young people.
Visit cleanupbritain.org for further details.