'Prevent a plague of post-lockdown litter' is message from council and volunteers

Ready for battle after mainly fighting the rubbish behind this bus stop in Cam Drive. My partner in crime Brenda Pearce

Brenda Pearce ready for battle after mainly fighting the rubbish behind this bus stop in Cam Drive. - Credit: MAGGIE GOODGER

East Cambridgeshire District Council is encouraging residents to prevent a plague of post-lockdown litter as restrictions ease and outdoor gatherings of up to six people are permitted.

According to campaign group Keep Britain Tidy, litter left in parks, beaches and streets reached epidemic levels after the coronavirus lockdown eased last summer. 

This meant councils spent an average of 81 per cent more on cleaning up than usual.

Peter Royle enjoyed a fruitful early morning pick down the A142 and then along Angel Drove

Starting at the A10 Cambridge roundabout, Peter Royle enjoyed a fruitful early morning pick down the A142 and then along Angel Drove (city side) as far as the car park. The size and weight of the bags made it quite a workout towards the end, he said. - Credit: PETER ROYLE

East Cambs Street Scene (ECSS), who provide waste and street cleansing services across the district, have also experienced much larger volumes of litter left by people in parks, streets and by the roadside.  

It comes as the recently launched Ely Litter Pickers group announced that members have been collecting hundreds of bin bags full of litter each week.

Ely Litter Picker volunteer Ian Haynes' son

Ely Litter Picker volunteer Ian Haynes' son - Credit: IAN HAYNES

"We also successfully raised money for our first litter picking equipment and we are highly likely to get a grant approved in the following days for even more equipment," said founder Mira Hawke. 

"We also secured support of Sylhet Restaurant, McDonald's, Tesco, and other businesses. 

Brian Calvert picked up 100 glass bottles from Ely Country Park

Brian Calvert picked up 100 glass bottles from Ely Country Park - Credit: BRIAN CALVERT

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"This is incredible how this group has exploded, and we will do our best to grow it more, make it fun, educational, and sustainable.

"If we achieved so much in such short time, imagine what will be next!"

Cllr David Ambrose Smith, chairman of the operational services committee, said: “As lockdown restrictions are eased and more people are out and about enjoying the warmer weather, there is an increased risk of people littering.

"We want to take this opportunity to encourage people to be considerate and kind to their environment.

Ely Litter Picker group volunteers

Ely Litter Picker group volunteers - Credit: ELY LITTER PICKERS FACEBOOK

“We take waste management in the district very seriously and will not tolerate littering.

“As well as being unsightly, litter is harmful to wildlife and the environment.

"The council cannot be everywhere, so it is vital that we rely on residents to report those who flout the rules and that we continue to work in partnership with local groups to keep our district clean.”

ECSS is working with the community to support all the residents that give their time to litter picking.

The Ely Litter Pickers group is holding a Great British Spring Clean on May 28.

The Ely Litter Pickers group is holding a Great British Spring Clean on May 28. - Credit: FLEUR PATTEN

Cllr Julia Huffer, member champion for waste and recycling, said: “No doubt there will be a sense of relief and joy for many as they are allowed to picnic in the park with friends and family they haven’t seen for many months.

“However, we live in a very beautiful district and we all have a duty to keep it that way.

“It has been great to see so many residents litter picking in their communities while enjoying the great outdoors.

Edward Litterhands

Edward Litterhands - Credit: NATASHA COX

“So, we are urging everybody to use the bins provided or better still to recycle and dispose of their waste at home and to report instances of littering and litter bins that need emptying.”

Report street cleansing issues via Click & Connect on the East Cambs website: or by contacting the customer services team on 01353 665555 or via email: customerservices@eastcambs.gov.uk

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