Friday 14 June 2024
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Litterpickers collect 52 bags walking from Keyworth to East Leake

Jennifer and David Manning-Ohren of Wild Things Keyworth have walked from Keyworth to East Leake on a litterpick challenge they named the LITTERnal Equinox.

The couple set off from Keyworth on Sunday 17 March 2024 and did litterpicks early in the morning over an eleven-week period, returning and starting again where they left off.

They had helpers along the way and finally reached East Leake via Widmerpool, Wysall and Costock at 9am on Bank Holiday Monday 27 May.

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On one occasion they picked litter for 5 hours straight, a huge range of items from gun cartridges to tyres were found. 

In total they walked and cleaned up the countryside for 24 hours collecting 52 bags over a 12kms distance.  Both sides of the road were addressed including verges and ditches.

They shared video footage and photos of litter on their Facebook page.  On one occasion they picked litter for 5 hours straight. They soon realised that 2 hour stints were more manageable and meant they weren’t getting symptoms like RSI or backache.

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They suggested that although some positive disposal messaging is on the products themselves, they believe stores can have an impact in getting the message out too.  A lot of money is spent on appealing to consumers to buy products, but is there in-store messaging about responsible disposal they say.

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A national bottle return scheme is a consideration. For example, in Germany and the Netherlands you have to pay a deposit for plastic bottles you buy.  Once empty you bring them back to the supermarket and your deposit is returned by putting it in a recycling machine. This could be a game changer for the U.K. they suggest.

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The litter they saw ranged from beer, wine, soft drinks, energy drinks, water bottles, metal cans, canisters, sun lotions, air fresheners, disposable coffee cups, half-eaten take-aways, with sauce contaminants for wildlife, sandwich packs, medication blister packs, sheet plastic, builders merchants bags, carpets, mats, car air fresheners, bags for life, confectionary wrappers, savoury food packaging, like crisp bags, string, rope, netting and wires, energy gel wrappers, children’s toys, clothes, cloths, smoking products like cigarette ends, packs, vapes, used gun cartridges, can separators, polystyrene, Styrofoam, product packaging, tyres, plastic bags, ‘L’ plates, old balloons caught in trees. The list goes on.

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Many of these products were shattered by heavy vehicles on verges causing glass, metal and plastic shard hazards, other items were languishing in streams turning the water rotten and being buried in soil, polluting them. Other products were waiting as entrapment potential.

For the big things like tyres and cabinets and major fly tipping, they contacted the RBC Streetwise team and gave them the W3W address for the location.  At the end of each litterpick stage, they alerted Streetwise who came to pick up the filled bags at an agreed spot and they were very supportive.

But it’s not quite over yet, they say.  Their efforts will culminate in a special clear up of the car park behind East Leake Co-op, 87 Main Street, East Leake, Loughborough, LE12 6PG on Sunday 30 June 2024 at 7am.

They are donating any funds raised to their friend Sam Perkins and his charity Stand Against MND based in East Leake, for their 50/50 campaign.

Jennifer Manning-Ohren, founder of Wild Things Keyworth said: “Our combined efforts have contributed towards keeping this countryside route litter-free, if only for a short while.”

“We aimed to link up with litterpickers in East Leake to compliment Sam’s 50/50 campaign and through this endeavour we have met regular litter pickers, Richard and Andrea which has been great.”

“It has been a long 24hrs accumulated over a number of weeks. The countryside is precious, and these items are either hazards, poisons or entrapment, for the wildlife that lives within it, so please do show a little care and responsibility.”

“To keep an area litter-free, requires a combination of individual and group action plus for businesses to acknowledge that litter can often come about because of the products they sell. “

“It is about education and awareness, helping people of all ages understand the impact of litter on the natural world and the hazards it presents to our wildlife and essentially being a little more conscientious and thoughtful.”

“Amongst the troubling rubbish you do also get to hear uplifting birdsong, or see a beautiful tree or wildflower. We had a wonderful chorus from a Song Thrush at Costock on our last session before reaching East Leake.”

The group now have a finale event in the car park behind the Co-op store in East Leake on Sunday 30th June starting at 7am for 2 hours. They say do as much of the 2 hours as you like, you will be most welcome.  87 Main Street, East Leake, Loughborough  LE12 6PG.

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