Littering along roads has deadly impact on wildlife warns RSPCA - The Evesham Observer

Littering along roads has deadly impact on wildlife warns RSPCA

Evesham Editorial 13th Feb, 2024   0

NATIONAL Highways and partners are urging road users to stop littering, revealing the deadly toll it has on wildlife.

‘Lend a paw – bin your litter’ scheme, supported by the RSPCA and Keep Britain Tidy, aims to raise awareness and inspire action to stop the devastating impact of litter on vulnerable animals.

RSPCA lead wildlife officer Geoff Edmond said the RSPCA welcome national highways’ campaign to raise awareness about the dangers wildlife faces from litter discarded by the roadside.

He added rescuers deal with thousands of incidents every year where animals have been affected by litter.

“Animals can ingest the litter, become trapped in it or be attracted to old food on the roadside which puts them in danger of moving vehicles.

“Sadly, for every animal we’re able to help there are probably many others that go unseen, unreported and may even lose their lives.”

According to National Highways, group discussions with littering drivers revealed a significant misconception regarding biodegradable waste, many failed to recognise the danger it poses to wildlife.

Around a third of survey respondents believed that dropping organic waste like apple cores benefited wildlife.

More than 90 per cent said they had never discarded litter onto the roadside, whilst over 60% said they had seen someone else doing it.

Figures show the RSPCA had received over 10,000 reports of animals found injured, trapped or dead from discarded litter in the last three years, amounting to nearly 10 per day.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Our roads are a graveyard for small mammals and other wildlife that is attracted to the littered food and drinks that drivers illegally chuck out of their vehicles.

“We are pleased to see National Highways launch this long-awaited campaign aimed squarely at getting motorists to do the right thing, bin their rubbish and protect these precious, highly biodiverse areas where so many animals live.”

National Highways have undertaken various measures to combat roadside littering, including AI-enabled camera trials and targeted messaging campaigns.

The organisation will participate in the Great British Spring Clean for the ninth consecutive year, reinforcing its commitment to preserving the environment and protecting wildlife.

National Highways chief executive Nick Harris said: “Littering is a dreadful social problem. It’s not just unsightly, it can have a deadly impact on wildlife, turning verges into lethal roadside restaurants.

“We’re working hard to tackle it on our roads, with our people litter-picking every day. To keep them safe we have to close motorway lanes, which delays drivers and costs millions of pounds.

“But if people don’t drop litter in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up – so we urge road users to take their litter home.”



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