'Plastic free' group combat litter at Preston docks... and they need your help

Plastic Free Preston South West will be hosting a litter picking day tomorrow to combat increasing levels of waste being dumped around the docks.

Friday, 14th August 2020, 4:16 pm
The group will be litter picking from Saturday August 15.

Working in small groups for social distancing, the group will commence on their litter pick on Saturday afternoon, August 15, to tackle the issue of litter at Preston Docks.

Meeting at one o'clock, the group will provide volunteers with litter pickers, bags, hi-vis jackets and disposable gloves.

Michael Balshaw and partner Beth, group organisers said that the level of rubbish at the docks and surrounding areas "cannot go on".

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The group of volunteers regularly collect more than 60 bags of litter.

Beth said: "We have seen the Government roll back on the progress we have made in tackling the plastic pollution crisis. The 5 pence plastic bag change has be waived for food deliveries, the ban on straws, stirrers and cotton bud sticks, that was just weeks away from being introduced, has been postponed.

"Delays in the Environment Bill are likely to result in yet further delays to the introduction of deposit return systems and extended producer responsibility, both critical components of reducing the scourge of plastic pollution, this cannot go on.

Alongside two friends, Michael collected 54 purple bin bags full of plastic bottles in less than two hours last week in a bid to help tackle the problem in Preston and Lancashire.

The Plastic Free Preston South West group make it their mission to combat the issue of litter and other environmentally damaging factors, having recently hosted litter picks at Lancaster Canal and The Sea Cadets.

Recent images of litter collected by the group.

Michael said: "When you start picking up litter yourself, it really gives you some scope of the size of this problem. The public health of the city is at stake and action should be taken for the good of the population.

"We need a massive clean up worldwide and we need to educate the public especially the younger generation and we also need to start using more bio degradable materials in manufacturing.

"We've got loads of people volunteering and wanting to help but we need to manage this in a constructive way."

It was reported in May that the reopening of KFC at Preston Docks had also led to an increase in litter in the area - with remains from drivers parking up to enjoy their food had been scattered across nearby car parks.

Baffito's car park was used for fly tipping in June.

Similarly, in March, there were scenes of tonnes of driftwood, plastic, rubbish that had piled up in the docks that turned the water into a blanket of litter and in June, fly tipping became an issue in the Baffito's restaurant car park.

One resident, who lives on Maritime way, feels forced to take it upon themselves and collect the rubbish with a bin bag each morning.

They said: "People park outside our homes in the evening with their takeaway food. Some walk to the bin, others simply open their window and drop the cartons out, or open their door, place it next to the car on the floor and drive away.

"This is usually a night time issue, so in the morning we can be faced with that rubbish having been spread around the road by the seagulls, creating an eyesore and an environmental issue.

"I often go out early in the morning with a bin bag to pick it up, so that the area is kept nice but also to stops rats from being attracted to our homes.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said that some media reports and third-party observations suggest that small-scale fly-tipping has increased since coronavirus restrictions were introduced.