Across Devon, councils are experiencing high levels of litter left abandoned around waste bins. The advice to picnickers who have been flocking to beaches and open spaces to enjoy the recent spell of sunny weather is, if the bins have already filled up, take your litter home to recycle.
Despite regular daily collections of waste bins across the length and breadth of the county, councils are simply overwhelmed with the huge quantities of full bags of picnic waste which is being abandoned, some of it never having been attempted to put into bins.
Rubbish left around bins, which is classified as fly tipping, causes the likelihood of rubbish being blown into the sea causing pollution of the region's beautiful coastlines, harm to marine life and an increase in vermin and seagulls who scavenge for leftovers.
When residents and visitors are meeting friends and family outdoors due to the current lockdown measures in place, the message from councils is very clear: if the bins are full, take your rubbish home.
Cllr Keith Baldry South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Environment, said: "We know that most of our residents and visitors care about the South Hams and its beautiful environment and they join us in their anger over the actions of some people following the relaxation of the Covid lockdown. Be under no illusion, this is not just a South Hams issue, it's happening nationwide and we need to stop it now before it gets too late.
"We know it is our responsibility to empty the bins regularly, which we do. But it is up to everyone to play their part and take responsibility for their own actions too. It is simply unbelievable that normally rational people think it is okay to abandon their rubbish in public spaces simply because the bin may be full. They wouldn't leave their rubbish on a pavement if the bin was empty, so why leave it just because a bin has filled up?
"If you can manage to carry a bag of picnic food and drink to the beach, the park or countryside, and the bins have become overfull, then please use that same bag to carry the rubbish back home for recycling.
"Please do let us know if a bin is full by reporting it online and we will get there as quickly as possible to empty it. I would also strongly urge you to report incidents of fly tipping to us."
The Councils' Enforcement Officers are out and about patrolling the region and will be issuing on the spot fines of £100 to those caught littering.
For further information on reporting fly tipping or a full bin, please visit: www.southhams.gov.uk/reportit
Issued: 11 June 2020