Pardoning the play on words; £1billion a year cleaning up Britain: What a load of rubbish! The figure, published in an article in the independent.co.uk, makes for a worrying statistic. Furthering this concern, “of the 825,000 reported cases of fly-tipping that were made; only 2,000 convictions were actually carried out.”
But why does this really matter? Surely there are more pressing issues to be dealing with than chasing the odd empty crisp packet down the road? Well, we’ll skip the lecture and head straight for the hard facts. Let’s start with what we know – the cost of clearing up our country is financially mind boggling! £1,000,000,000… That’s a nine nought figure! Can you even picture 100 items in your mind? Although a relatively small chunk of the government’s budget; this sum of money, without doubt, could be better invested elsewhere, if slovenly Britain decided to clean up its act.
So what could £1 billion of taxpayer’s money actually fund?
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As if that wasn’t enough to actually make serial litterers stop and think before they chuck their next coffee cup out of the window when traveling down the motorway, then what about this nauseating statistic? Apparently, as reported on news.com.au, “Britain’s giant rat population is set to soar to up to 200 million, this summer, experts warn. The mild weather will see an increase in numbers of super rats up to 2ft long.” Another major contributing factor to the feral rat population is that of fly tipping. Living on Britain’s junk food and other such leftovers have seen the size of rats increase drastically.
It’s not just rats who are rummaging around in Britain’s bin bags. Other animals are being discovered in amongst the rubbish, and are being injured by the dangerous materials that are being binned alongside food waste. The RSPCA commented, “We receive over 7,000 phone calls a year about litter-related incidents and our officers regularly rescue animals trapped or hurt by litter.”
Kittens are being discovered with glass embedded in their paws, squirrels are being entangled in netting and deer are similarly being found with rope, twine or netting wrapped around their antlers.
To combat Britain’s growing litter problem, the government, cleanhighways.co.uk have imposed a law to deter repeat offers from littering.
Under the Environmental Protection Act, Section 87 and 88, it is stated that:
“It is an offence to drop litter in any place open to the air, including private land, and land covered by water. A person found guilty can be fined up to £2,500.”
“Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) may be issued by local authorities to people caught in the act. If paid on time the offender avoids facing a criminal prosecution.”
However, there has been positive news for the environment. The 5p plastic carrier bag charge has, as noted by the BBC, seen ‘an 80% decrease in the use of Tesco’s carrier bags since the introduction of the 5p charge in October 2015.”
Gov.uk also estimated that, over the next 10 years the benefits of the scheme will include:
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With this encouraging news, it’s time to apply this radical-style of reform to more areas. Environmental agencies are calling for more on-the-spot fines to be imposed on those caught littering. It is thought that a financial penalty will not only deter those littering; but the money gained will aid in helping to clean Britain’s streets, thus reducing the risk of diseases spreading, the population of vermin and the potential damage to the environment.