'The country's gone a little bit feral' - Dismay at lockdown litter problem

Kate Prout reports on the rise in litter since lockdown eased.


Volunteer litter pickers say they've seen a significant increase in rubbish being left at the region's parks and beaches since the easing of lockdown.

As well as the usual bottles, cans, takeaway wrappings and disposable barbecues they have been finding thousands of discarded nitrous oxide - or laughing gas - canisters.

Discarded nitrous oxide canisters collected by litter pickers. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Jason Alexander is the founder of Rubbish Walks, a small social enterprise based in Suffolk raising awareness about the issues of single-use plastics, litter and waste.

He's used to picking up litter on a daily basis and insists it is a problem society has become desensitised to over time

"We've forgotten how important it is to respect our local communities and the environment," he said.

"We've been locked indoors for so long that being released into the wild makes us go a bit wild and we forget the kind of things that any other normal time, the vast majority of us wouldn't dream of doing."

I think one of the key things is that during lockdown the country has gone a little bit feral.

Jason Alexander, Founder, Rubbish Walks

Maggie Wilcox and her husband, Simon, walk on Overstrand beach in Norfolk every day. They fill at least one bag with discarded items.

She said: "There's been a marked increase in the amount of rubbish, beer bottles, wine bottles, nappies, sanitary napkins, toilet tissue and the usual dog poo bags.

"I don't understand it because they've made the effort to drive here and bring all their beer bottles and wine and food and leave it when it's empty. Why not carry it back and put it in a bin? It doesn't make sense to me."

During the heatwave hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to the region's beaches, parks and beauty spots.

At the weekend, Cambridge's Midsummer Common was left strewn with rubbish after groups gathered to mark the cancelled Midsummer Fair.