Wales

Keep Wales Tidy highlights litter 'excuses'

  • 9 January 2011
  • From the section Wales
Stencil on pavement of dog owner cleaning up dog mess
Image caption Dog mess is the most unpopular form of litter, found research by Keep Wales Tidy

Campaigners say too many people in Wales are still making excuses for dropping litter.

While 56% of people claim it is never acceptable to drop litter, more than half of the population still do, according to a Keep Wales Tidy survey.

Half believe dropping litter is excusable when in a hurry and a similar number do not think dropping an apple core is wrong.

Dog mess is the most unpopular form of litter with the public.

Keep Wales Tidy said £70m is spent each year clearing litter.

Litter has the most negative impact on the look and feel of communities, according to those surveyed, but more than half of people in Wales are guilty of dropping rubbish.

Fruit and cigarette butts are most likely to end up on our streets, with a quarter of Welsh people admitting to dropping these in the past year.

Lesley Jones, chief executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said: "We believe that a cleaner Wales can only be achieved by changing people's attitudes so that they are less likely to engage in littering behaviour.

"This research is invaluable to us in understanding those attitudes."

The research revealed that those who admit littering streets do not think they will be caught despite fines ranging from £75 to £300.

Of those who admit to being litterbugs, half believe it is excusable when in a hurry and half believe throwing apple cores does not count.

Smokers said there is no alternative but to stub out cigarette butts on the ground, researchers found.

A quarter of those who admitted being litterbugs said that if others around them were dropping litter they would too and that if bins are full it is acceptable to drop litter.

Keep Wales Tidy interviewed people in Cardiff, Carmarthen, Merthyr Tydfil and Wrexham.

Image caption Smokers say there is no alternative but to stub out cigarette butts on the ground

They found that men, those in younger age groups, and people from the south Wales valleys were more likely to be among those who stop litter.

Keep Wales Tidy have launched a campaign asking individuals and businesses to pledge to look after their local environment.

Pledges range from promising to dispose of cigarette butts and chewing gum responsibly to using a bag for life when shopping.

Ms Jones said: "Our new year campaign aims to help Welsh towns and cities rid their streets of graffiti, chewing gum, discarded plastic bags, dog mess and cigarette butts by getting the public to think about the consequences of their behaviour, she added.

"People can sign up online to make the small, positive changes that can make a lasting difference to the way our local communities look and feel."

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