Don't drop food litter

PUBLISHED: 13:22 11 May 2007 | UPDATED: 22:47 28 May 2010

AN innovative and exciting 18-month environmental campaign, called Cleaner, Safer, Greener, targeting the four main Fenland towns, will be launched in Whittlesey next week by Fenland District Council and ENCAMS, which runs the national Keep Britain Tidy C

AN innovative and exciting 18-month environmental campaign, called Cleaner, Safer, Greener, targeting the four main Fenland towns, will be launched in Whittlesey next week by Fenland District Council and ENCAMS, which runs the national Keep Britain Tidy Campaign.

Whittlesey will be the focus of this Fenland-wide campaign until the end of July, with schools and youth groups, local businesses, the enthusiastic Whittlesey Street Pride group, the town and parish councils and Fenland District Council will be working together to try to eliminate litter and dog fouling in public areas.

The awareness campaign will kick off at the Manor Leisure Centre on Monday, where staff will be sporting campaign t-shirts to encourage people to get the Cleaner, Safer, Greener message. The campaign will also be reinforcing the message that dropping litter is an offence for which a £75 fixed penalty can be imposed.

Over the past four years fast food litter has increased in rural areas by up to 20 per cent. This has an obvious impact on the visual quality of any environment, but Fenland being a unique environment needs help from us all to preserve its qualities and ensure that it is kept clean, safe and green.

The first element of the campaign will focus on 'Food on the Go Litter' where people drop packaging and wrappers on the street near food outlet shops. It also covers restaurants and pubs where smokers, who will no longer be allowed to smoke indoors, may then drop their cigarette ends on the ground outside.

Packaging and food that is discarded is a health hazard as well as being untidy. Figures from ENCAMS show that the national rat population has increased by 24 per cent to about 60million over the past three years - that's one rat per person.

Businesses such as fast food outlets, corner shops, newsagents and petrol stations in Whittlesey have signed up to the campaign through a voluntary code of practice and they will have the opportunity to achieve three levels of award for their efforts in stamping improving the environment.

Local businesses which take part in the voluntary code can be awarded a bronze, silver or gold awards, depending on the level of their contribution to the local environment. This involvement can range from displaying posters, providing or sponsoring additional litter bins or sweeping outside their premises to reducing their own food packaging and waste produced.

Award winners will be presented with their awards and their success publicised through local media.

Cigarettes and associated litter, such as matches, disposable lighters and packaging is the most common type of litter dropped in the UK. An estimated 122 tonnes of cigarette-related litter is dropped every day and the cigarette filters which are composed of cellulose acetate, persist in the environment for up to 500 years and they leak toxins into watercourses and pose a serious threat to wildlife.

The council is working with pubs, clubs and other businesses to encourage smokers to dispose of their cigarette ends safely in special bins and to not drop them on the pavement.

Here are some startling Food on the Go facts.

- Seven out of the top 10 items of litter dropped by pedestrians or people in vehicles are Food on the Go materials.

- Food on the Go is the fastest growing type of litter. Over the last four years, drink related litter has increased by 37 per cent, confectionery packaging litter has gone up by 18 per cent and fast food packaging litter has risen by 18 per cent.

- In 1964, when the first Food on the Go restaurant opened in Britain, we dropped about five tonnes of rubbish a year. By 2000, that figure had grown to 25 million tonnes.

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