Ribble Rivers Trust, in collaboration with Fylde council, has launched a people focussed campaign to combat litter and inspire Lancashire residents to “wave hello to cleaner beaches” this summer.

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the detrimental impact of litter, encompassing issues such as food waste, packaging, dog waste, and plastic pollution on our precious beaches and seas. The rising tide of litter that faces our coast poses a grave threat to our delicate ecosystems, harming wildlife and polluting the picturesque seas we love to bathe in.

For many years microplastics have been making the headlines and, whilst plastic pollution is still a problem, recent DNA analysis of water samples collected from our coast has revealed an alarming presence of bacteria typically associated with sea bird faeces and dog waste.

This revelation highlights the urgent need for change. However, the good news is that we can all help to make a difference. By embracing small changes in our daily lives, such as proper waste disposal and responsible pet ownership, we can collectively create a ripple effect of positive change.

Cllr Tommy Threlfall, Lead Member for Environment Services at Fylde Council said: “We’re reminding people to clean up after their dogs, use the litter bins provided, or take their litter home if the bins are full or there are no bins available. These simple actions, reflecting our commitment to a cleaner borough, align with the dedication of our community volunteers who work tirelessly to keep our beaches stunning. To help further enhance responsible waste disposal, Fylde Council have installed additional bins along the coast. Together, we’re making a significant impact in preserving the pristine state of our rivers, beaches, and coastal waters, for everyone to enjoy.”

One of the most significant issues is the animals that are attracted to litter. Food waste and packaging attracts unwanted attention from creatures such seagulls and rats, creating both a nuisance and a risk of disease transmission. The faeces that these sea birds produce has a big impact on water quality by introducing bugs and bacteria into our bathing waters. By properly disposing of food waste, we can ensure that our beaches remain clean, safe, and enjoyable for all.

Dog waste is another pressing concern. Containing millions of harmful bacteria, dog waste washes into our rivers when unscrupulous owners fail to clean up after their pets. Subsequently, these bacteria find their way onto our beloved beaches. Properly disposing of litter and dog waste is crucial in maintaining clean, safe, and enjoyable beach environments for all.

Even if you do not reside in a coastal community, your contribution is still valuable in transforming our seaside. Vast quantities of litter originate from areas many miles away from the coast, where it has been washed into rivers and subsequently carried downstream.

“Litter, food waste and bacteria wreak havoc on water quality and the lives of wildlife,” explains Harvey Hamilton-Thorpe of the Ribble Rivers Trust. “We want everyone to understand that even a small lifestyle change can make a huge difference in protecting the wildlife that depends on our rivers and coastal waters, and that cleaner water is vital for people as well as wildlife.”

For more information on the campaign, including volunteer litter picks, visit ribbletrust.org.uk and follow Ribble Rivers Trust on social media.


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