The Twickenham Tribune


‘Lockdown litter’ up by a third as The Royal Parks collects ‘20 London buses’ of rubbish in June alone


Soaring lockdown littering levels led to an astonishing 258.4 tonnes of rubbish collected from London’s eight Royal Richmond Park LitterParks in June alone - the equivalent in weight of 20 new London buses, or 74 elephants.

This represents an increase of 32 percent compared with June 2019.

And it took staff 11,078 hours (the equivalent of 15 months) just to clear the litter left on the grass - in addition to the time spent emptying bins.

Richmond Park saw a 7-fold increase in littering this June (from 6.64 tonnes left in June 2019 to 42 tonnes left in June 2020) – much greater than the other parks

The Royal Parks has welcomed increased numbers of visitors to the parks during the peak of the pandemic, providing a boost to physical and mental wellbeing.

However, now groups can gather, park managers have reported never-before-seen levels of littering on the grass every day, including plastic bags, pizza boxes, glass bottles, picnic items and PPE – there was even some office furniture and a Christmas Tree left in Kensington Gardens – with trash levels increasing on warm evenings and over sunny weekends.

Richmond Park StagThis is despite increased numbers of bins in place, more frequent emptying to accommodate greater volumes of rubbish, and staff starting sometimes as early as 5am to ensure the parks are pristine when the majority of visitors arrive.

Plastic waste can get worked into the ground, plastic bags can blow onto waterways harming waterfowl, and wildlife can ingest items causing them pain or even death. Unsightly litter spoils the parks for others and is a strain on the charity’s resources.

In response, The Royal Parks is launching a ‘Summer of Kindness’ campaign, to inspire visitors to care for the 5,000 acres of historic green spaces as we head into the summer holidays and more hot weather is predicted.

Tom Jarvis, Director of Parks at The Royal Parks, said: “It’s been truly fantastic to see more people enjoying our parks and getting closer to nature for a spot of R&R, to keep fit or to spend time with family and friends in the fresh air. We’ve had lots of really nice messages from people thanking us for keeping the parks open and telling us how the parks have been a lifeline for them, particularly for those without gardens,

“But the downside is the litter. We’ve never seen anything like this before. Every day we wake up to unprecedented levels of litter, with PPE, pizza boxes, plastic bags and picnic scraps strewn all over the grass. And we fear the worst is yet to come, with another spell of hot weather on the way.

“So we’re asking everyone who visits the parks for a bit of help to spread some kindness this summer and help us look after the environment. Binning litter or taking it home will keep the parks beautiful places for everyone to enjoy – and will help ensure that our incredible wildlife continues to thrive and stay safe.”

We’re asking everyone to spread a bit of kindness in the parks when they visit and we’re asking for a bit of help to keep the parks incredible places to visit with three simple messages:

Click stag image to view video of a stag with some rubber tubing caught it its antlers


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