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image of clean and tidy parks with message 'take your litter home'

Redbridge Park Rangers’ plea to public as littering soars in borough’s parks

Published: 20 July 2021

Redbridge’s parks have been a vital lifeline to many throughout the pandemic, and now more than ever people are enjoying the borough’s green spaces, but as footfall in parks rose over the last year, so has the amount of litter.

Last year 98,000 bags of litter were collected from Redbridge parks, nearly four times more than during the previous year.

Park rangers also reported a shocking 227 bags of rubbish being collected from Valentines Park alone in a single day in June this year.

The unprecedented level of rubbish has prompted pleas from the borough’s park rangers asking the public to protect, respect and love our parks by taking their litter home with them.

As the nation begins celebrating Love Parks Week from today, the message was loud and clear from Claire Oliverio, Head Ranger at Hainault Forest, who said: “Unfortunately, over the last year or so we’ve seen a huge rise in litter.

“We’re finding PPE discarded in vegetation, plastic food packaging and cups from family picnics spread across grasslands, and the remnants of illicit BBQs in our precious woodlands.

“Not only is this unsightly, but it also poses a hazard for both people and wildlife, as well as increase problems with pest control.

“We’re all working really hard to keep on top of the surge in litter, but now more than ever we need your help too. If you love our parks as much as we do, please help us keep them clean and tidy by taking your litter home with you.”

Leader of Redbridge Council Cllr Jas Athwal, said: “Our borough is one of the greenest in London, with award winning parks and many areas of natural beauty, but we need your support to help us keep it that way.

“It’s no surprise this last year our parks have been a refuge for physical and mental well-being for so many, but as footfall in our parks increased sadly so has the amount of litter.

“Keeping our parks clean and tidy is a real team effort involving all of us, so please do your bit and show your love for our parks by taking your litter home with you.”

As part of wider work to create a cleaner and greener Redbridge, the council is planning to trial a range of different types of litter bin across the borough’s parks.

The trial, due to start later this year, will see the addition of new bin types across a selected number of parks.

The bins will be monitored for the volume of rubbish collected, and usage with the aim of helping the council understand public behaviour towards littering, as well as help reduce litter and encourage people to take litter home.

Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council, and Cabinet Member for Finance, Leisure and Culture, Cllr Kam Rai, added: “Our parks and green spaces are an invaluable asset to our borough which is why we’re committed to investing in them so that local people can enjoy them now and for years to come.

“We recently approved a Green Urban Landscape Policy which lays out plans for managing and improving council greenery across the borough, this is in addition to a wealth of work already taking place to keep developing and improving our parks and green spaces.

“We can all play our part to keep Redbridge looking clean and green, and one of the easiest things is to make sure your litter goes back home with you after a visit to our parks.”

Keeping Redbridge clean and green is also one of the top actions for Redbridge Action Week, starting Wednesday 21 July. During the week-long event the council will be partnering with the police, as well as working with local communities, to tackle local concerns including littering.

Among the actions planned is a community litter pick for Saturday 24 July, 10am to 11:30am. Volunteers will meet outside Lynton House in Ilford, and head towards High Road, Oakland Park Avenue and Thompson Close. You can join the litter pick by emailing our neighbourhood team.

Every year 25,000 site visits are undertaken across Redbridge parks just to carry out litter maintenance work. The work of the rangers is also supported by big-hearted volunteers giving up their time to help look after the borough’s parks.  On average over 5,000 hours of volunteer time supports the rangers in maintaining parks.

Why not show your local park some love for Love Parks Week by becoming a litter picking hero? Find out about becoming a community litter picker on: https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/our-streets/spruce-up-your-neighbourhood#litter

For more information about parks in Redbridge visit: https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/leisure-sport-and-the-arts/parks/

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