SHOCKING images showing animals tangled and trapped in metal and plastic rubbish were projected on a huge screen making its way around Leamington town centre at the weekend.
It marked the launch of the Now or Never campaign from environmental change company Clean up Britain. Over the next year Leamington will be a ‘live test bed’ aimed at changing the behaviour of those who thoughtlessly discard their rubbish, and cleaning up Britian’s streets.
The selection of images depicted real scenes of animals rescued by the RSPCA and animal charity The Blue Cross. They can also be seen on posters around the town.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “A recent case involved a duck with a plastic ring trapped in his bill and around the back of his head. It must have been extremely painful. Unfortunately we had to put it to sleep at the scene to prevent further suffering.
“It’s really shocking and sad to see wildlife suffer in this way, when it could have been easily preventable. This is why we always ask people to please dispose of their rubbish responsibly.”
The organisation revealed it received around 5,000 calls a year about animals injured by litter.
A Clean up Britain spokesperson said previous research suggested talking about hurt and dead animals was one of the only ways to spark conversation about litter.
They added: “In particular, we need to get to young women and men, age 16 to 30, who don’t even think about litter. This age group, while outwardly professing a love of the planet, recycling and other green issues, over-indexes on littering compared to other age groups.
“It’s been ages since a national anti-litter campaign ran which changed littering behaviours, the topic of littering gets no airtime with this audience, and any wider efforts to prompt thinking and behaviour change has been largely ineffective.
“We know that the images are shocking – that’s the point. We need to give people a reason to react strongly to seeing others litter, and make those who do think twice.”
Other methods being trialled during the campaign include litter-pickers and rubbish bags stationed around the town – inspired by a coastal project known as ‘2 Minute Beach Clean’ – and encouraging businesses to reduce plastic packaging.
Visit cleanupbritain.org for more information.