Partying in the park? Litter louts costs local council thousands
Barbecue and booze mess blights our open spaces
With summer drawing to a close, people are taking advantage of the last of the sun to have a barbecue in their local park – but leave it looking like a rubbish tip when they go home.
That’s the opinion of a local waste and recycling company which says that local authorities are having to shell out thousands to clear up after lazy families and groups of friends who leave food waste and rubbish behind.
Yorkshire-based BusinessWaste.co.uk says that council workers and waste operators are at their wits’ end as warm weather brings another rash of filth left in public open spaces.
“My Local park is full of litter and burnt out disposable barbecues on any given evening,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall. “We’ve been told that clearing this mess up costs hundreds every day, which comes out of your Council Tax.”
According to BusinessWaste.co.uk, rubbish encountered by their waste operators in local parks includes:
• Portable and disposable barbecues
• Empty drinks cans and bottles
• Uneaten food, chicken bones and spare ribs
• Garden furniture
• Dirty nappies
“This is the kind of mess we face every day in parks the length of the country,” says Hall, “Would you act like that in your own garden?”
“One colleague told us they had to clear up an entire set of garden furniture, including food still on the camp table, just lacking the people, like the Marie Celeste.”
Not only does food waste attract vermin, but dumped children’s nappies make litter picking and waste disposal that much more hazardous for council workers and waste disposal operators.
“It’s infuriating. The people who do this are ignorant and lazy,” says Hall.
“It’s time local authorities banned this kind of event in public places, because some members of the public are completely unable to do the right thing.”
BusinessWaste.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall says that we should be following the French example where eating and drinking is largely banned.
“Parks there are pristine with signs prohibiting barbecues,” he explains. “There have separate areas with tables and bins that are segregated, so everything is kept under control.”
It’s similar in Australia, where parks have fixed barbecues with bins nearby. “Parks and beaches are pristine because people just can’t eat food elsewhere,” says Hall.
Encouraging the UK’s local authorities to come up with similar controlled areas for people to bring and cook their own food, Business Waste says that a small local investment could save thousands in the long run.
“Plenty of bins, and fixed-place barbecues in a fenced-off area means that users know their responsibilities,” says Hall.
“The huge problem we have to face up to is that people are essentially lazy, and will act in an anti-social matter if they think they can get away with it.”
People need to be nudged in the right direction to get them to clear up after themselves,” says Hall. “It’s either that, or ban barbecues in the park for once and for all.”
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