Take your rubbish home!

Tuesday 31st May 2016

Volunteer Ivan Richards with rubbish at Piper's Hill (c) James HitchcockVolunteer Ivan Richards with rubbish at Piper's Hill (c) James Hitchcock

The delicate green of a bottle, the shining blue of a drinks can, the fluttering of a carrier bag and the pungent aroma of a dog poo bag.

A local conservation charity is urging people to their nature reserves to take their rubbish home. Staff and volunteers spend more than 1000 hours each year removing rubbish from their nature reserves across the county.

James Hitchcock, conservation officer for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, explained “Most people visit our nature reserves and the countryside for a nice day out and to spot some wildlife; not only does litter spoil the look of our nature reserves and the wider countryside in general, it’s also dangerous for wildlife.

Hedgehog caught in litter (c) Nigel Reeve“Discarded tin cans can be a death trap for animals like hedgehogs that can get their heads trapped inside, small mammals like shrews and voles can get into bottles but not get out, plastic loops become nooses and fishing wire or rope can entangle birds and other creatures.

“As a charity we’d much rather be spending our volunteers’ time and members’ money on working to protect wildlife throughout the county rather than tidying up after people.

“If you’re visiting our nature reserves or just out and about, don’t forget to take your rubbish home and dispose of it responsibly.”

Bin bags of rubbish

On a recent litter pick at Piper’s Hill and Dodderhill Commons nature reserve near Bromsgrove, known locally as Hanbury Woods, James and volunteers collected countless drinks bottles, cans, food cartons, discarded dog poo bags and even some fly-tipped concrete – more than four large bin bags full of rubbish from just seven days.

This story is replicated on many of the charity’s nature reserves across the county and costs the Trust several hundreds of pounds in time and disposal charges.

Ivan Richards spraying dog poo (c) James HitchcockJames added “One of the major problems on some of our nature reserves is irresponsible dog owners. We welcome responsible dog owners to many of our nature reserves providing that dogs are under control and poo is bagged and removed; most dog walkers respect this.

“Dog faeces is rich in nutrients so if it’s left on the side of a path, it will encourage the growth of nettles rather than allowing delicate wildflowers to grow.

“However, bagging it and throwing it onto the path, into the grass or hanging it in a tree is even worse – the plastic bag creates a smelly, long lasting eyesore.

“We get a lot of comments from visitors, including dog owners themselves, who don’t want to see litter and dog mess when they visit our nature reserves. We don’t have the money to install bins and pay contractors to empty them – people should take responsibility and take their rubbish home with them.”

Volunteers for the Trust will be spraying dog poo on some of its nature reserves with bright biodegradable paint to highlight the problem. This is becoming a common activity across the UK in a bid to illustrate just how much of a problem it is and to encourage owners to pick it up; it often helps to drastically reduce the issue.

The Trust asks everyone to go prepared to take all forms of litter away with them to dispose of responsibly.

Tagged with: Litter, Piper's Hill and Dodderhill Commons, Rubbish