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We can't keep paying massive litter bill

Wepay £1billion in England each year to clean our streets – and this is a bill wecan’t keep paying.

Itis time everyone realised the scale of the task facing local authorities likeSutton in keeping the places we call home clean and tidy and initiatives likethis are vital if we are to educate people about the impact of their behaviour.

Thequestion we all need to ask ourselves is “When it comes to litter, which sideof the fence are you on?

– Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy

Litter costs council £4 million a year

Sutton Council Leader Ruth Dombey with the litter mountain in Sutton High Street Credit: Sutton Council

The pile, over 10ft tall and just as wide in clear plastic bags,demonstrates how much street litter is collected each day at a cost of £4m ayear.

The council says that cost is the equivalent of running a library service for a year; repairing 100,000 potholes; providing 210 residential care places for the elderly; or building half a primary school.

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Clapham High Street takes part in social experiment

The mess on Clapham High Street 24 hours after it had been cleaned. Credit: ITV News

One side of Clapham High Street was cleaned as normal this morning while the other was left dirty.

It was all to show the amount of litter that is dropped in 24 hours.

Lambeth was just one of the local authorities that took part in a social experiment this weekend, in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, to reveal the extent of the nation's littering behaviour.

The group say £1billion is spent cleaning the UK's streets every year which could pay for 4,400 libraries, 27,000 paramedics or 32,000 fire fighters.

One side of Clapham High Street was cleaned, the other side was left dirty. Credit: Keep Britain Tidy
Clapham High Street was just one of many roads that took part in the countrywide experiment. Credit: ITV News

Litter survey results

The charity Keep Britain Tidy today released the results from its biggest litter count yet.

Volunteers helped to count the amount of litter on our streets.

In London, 55 people signed up, and they counted more than 2,230 pieces of litter.

This survey provides us with a snapshot of what people have littered in communities across the country. It also gives more than 2,230 reasons in London alone why we all need to do more to make littering socially unacceptable - to reduce the environmental, social and financial costs of this national problem.

– Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy