Perranporth children 'upset' after litter signs destroyed

By Amy Gladwell
BBC South West

Image source, Remy Whiting
Image caption,
One parent said his children were "amazed" at how bad the litter had become in the sand dunes

Children have been left "very upset" after their handmade anti-littering signs were destroyed.

The project at Perranporth sand dunes, in Cornwall, started last summer when local families pledged to keep the dunes clean and put up warning signs.

Organisers said littering had "increased significantly" this year, with groups having parties and fires since lockdown eased.

Families said they were determined to remake the wooden signs.

Image source, Remy Whiting
Image caption,
In 2020, Flynn and Teddy proudly placed their signs in the dunes before they were destroyed in April 2021

Remy Whiting said his sons discovered on Monday that one of their signs had disappeared and another had been taken down, then other parents reported the same.

Mr Whiting said: "Our eldest was very upset when he couldn't find his sign and was looking through some of the bonfire ashes to see if he could see it.

"He kept asking why they burnt it and it's hard to explain why someone would do that," he said.

Image source, Alex Pearson
Image caption,
Some of the children with their wooden signs before they were destroyed
Image source, Lizzi Larbalestier
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Those taking part in the project to protect the dunes praised the "great team effort" of litter pickers

Mother-of-three Alex Pearson, whose family's signs were also destroyed, said: "Given the number of teenage parties in the dunes over the Easter holidays they did quite well to survive as long as they did."

She added that since the signs had been in place there had "definitely been much less litter around the signs than elsewhere", which had pleased her young daughters.

Image source, Lizzi Larbelestier
Image caption,
In 2021, large amounts of food wrappings and bonfire remains have been found

Lizzi Larbalestier, who introduced the project for families to clear litter from the dunes, said: "Over the past few weeks as we move out of lockdown the dunes at Perranporth have seen a significant increase in littering following group gatherings."

She said that it was "the minority who are creating and leaving behind vast quantities of waste".

Image source, Lizzi Larbelestier
Image caption,
Scheme organiser Lizzi Larbalestier said she had urged groups of teenagers partying in the dunes in April not to litter

The Surfers Against Sewage rep said: "We will continue to remake signs as for some they are having an impact but there is a lot more work to do to get under the surface of this behaviour.

"It is heart-warming to see the younger children making their signs and showing the determination to remake them rather than give up hope."

Perranzabuloe Parish Council, which is responsible for the sand dunes, has been contacted.