A message from Chief Executive Lesley Jones

A safe and clean environment has never been more important for us. Lockdown for me like so many others, has helped me appreciate the nature on my doorstep even more than before. As a dog owner and keen walker, I have cherished the opportunity to spend time in the warm fresh air, exploring my local area.

But with the appreciation, has come an increasing sadness.

The COVID-19 pandemic could be a turning point for the global environment. More anecdotal stories than can be ignored are showing the need for a change in the way that we consume and dispose of plastics and other waste materials. We can only wonder if enough of the global population will take the opportunity to change behaviours and do things differently – for the good of us all.

My mind today, however, has turned to what we in Wales can do right now to support a global challenge, by turning the growing tide of litter across our country.

At the most basic level, this means working together to make our outdoor spaces cleaner and safer.

Our council key workers have been continuing to work tirelessly across Wales (many behind locked gates) to look after our parks, green spaces and beaches, and to maintain other essential services, but it has just not been possible to run  ‘normal service’ bin emptying and litter picking.

While this has been happening in the background, the sun has been shining, children are not in school, many adults are not in work and the numbers of people using their local outdoor areas to walk, run and cycle has soared.  And, sadly, so has the litter.

Disheartened Keep Wales Tidy volunteers from across the country have been sharing increasing numbers of images of iconic beauty spots covered in this litter.

Plastic drinks bottles. Cans. Wet wipes. Fast food packaging. Abandoned toys. Drug paraphernalia. The list goes on and on.

And then there is the personal protection equipment.  PPE gloves.  PPE face masks.  This just makes me really frustrated.  These are the items that people are using to protect themselves from a killer virus, and which could quite easily have traces of the virus on them.  Not only are these unsightly litter, but they are a clear danger to life.

So, let’s be really clear – caring for our environment is not the sole responsibility of local authorities. We all need to pull together.  It is not good enough to expect somebody else to pick up the rubbish that you create.

Take your rubbish home

I am asking each and every one of you that loves our beautiful country to take responsibility. Take your rubbish home and dispose of it in your own bins. Ask everybody that you know to do the same.  Share the message across your social media. This one simple change will make a big difference.

Throughout this crisis, we have seen the very best of people in Wales. Despite separation from friends, family, and colleagues, there has been a real feeling of ‘togetherness’. As restrictions continue to ease, I implore you to keep this strong, positive community feeling alive to protect the quality of our environment and the resulting well-being of the community in which we live.

Please help #KeepWalesSafe, by keeping Wales tidy.

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News taken from Keep Wales Tidy Website 29/06/2020