Picking up litter from Brighton to Land’s End
Inspired by the Great British Spring Clean, Clarity Environmental have set themselves an ambitious goal for the month of April: they’ll be picking up litter from Brighton all the way to Land’s End, in Cornwall.
It’s been one week since the start, and so far they have collected over 42 kilos of waste spread over 56 miles.
Other than the recurring items found on the streets, such as water bottles and cigarette ends, and four cases of fly tipping which have been reported, the team has also found more unusual items: shoes, a cone, a bag full of bags for life, and even a kettle.
Brighton Journal asked a few questions to Charlotte from Clarity Environmental to find out more about their project.
What inspired you to set up this challenge?
We previously did a litter pick with Whale and Dolphin Conservation after we donated to their #UrbanBeachClean campaign. Up to 95% of plastic pollution in our oceans starts off as litter in our towns and cities so helping to clean up in urban areas is just as important for wildlife. We went out for an hour and the volume of litter we picked up from a relatively small area was phenomenal. After this experience many of our employees were keen to cover more areas and as part of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign we thought it would be a nice challenge to set up for a whole month.
Why did you pick Land’s End as your final destination?
Choosing Lands End was a combination of looking at the distance we thought could be a challenge to complete in 1 month (250 miles). It is also highlighting the sheer scale of the coastline we have that litter can end up in, we are only covering a small portion of the incredible beaches and natural landscape we have in the UK. Being an island makes it easier for our waste to enter the water streams, contaminating the seas and harming the animals that live in them.
What’s the most recurring littered item you have found so far?
We’ve found trends depending where we’ve gone. Busy roadsides, especially where there are junctions and traffic lights, there are numerous cans and plastic bottles. Near bus stops there are hundreds of cigarettes left, around one bus stop we found 12 packets of the same brand of cigarette. Parks are full of crisp packets. And bridle ways and walking paths are having lots of filled dog poo bags left.
Have local councils been efficient when you have reported incidents of fly tipping?
We’ve had some really good conversations with the council actually, although I haven’t seen them address the fly tipping we have reported, they are collecting everything we have picked. They are coming twice weekly to our offices to make sure everything can be sorted correctly, and anything that can be recycled will. With 51kg collected so far we have been running out of space for it all.
Have other people been joining you while you were out collecting litter? Has it sparked conversation among locals?
We haven’t had anyone come out an join us as of yet, but have had some lovely conversations with some of the people who use the bridleways and paths at the top of Woodingdean. Many people have gone out of the way to thank us. And one lady said she was walking her dog the other day and noticed how much cleaner the pathways were looking. A couple of our staff members have also been doing some picking on the weekend and that’s attracted lots of questions, especially in the town centre. Hopefully, by seeing other people picking up litter in their own free time, it might encourage others to pick up litter when they come across it, or think twice before dropping something that should go in a bin.
You can find out more about Clarity Environmental by visiting their website.