A campaign to help reduce litter across Fylde during an exceptionally busy summer has been hailed a resounding success.
Fylde Council says its Take It, Don’t Leave It incentive has led to a significant reduction in litter and has encouraged even more volunteers to support clean-up operations on beaches and in rural communities.
The campaign was launched in July in partnership with local volunteers to raise awareness among visitors and holidaymakers as well as local residents and businesses.
It featured a series of competitions, sand art installations and videos to highlight the types of litter left behind, the dangers of disposable barbecues and the devastating effects of rubbish on marine wildlife.
The council also invested in additional staff, bins and collections and introduced bucket and spade trade recycling facilities on the beach, while Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and local volunteers made heartfelt pleas to people to think twice before lighting barbecues or littering.
A competition with prizes to reward young litter pickers was also launched, and a thank you event for volunteers was organised.
Coun Roger Small, Fylde Council’s deputy leader and chairman of its operational management committee, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the results of the Take It, Don’t Leave It initiative which has gone a long way to making people think twice before leaving their litter behind.
“The incredible work carried out by our amazing volunteers, along with our teams from the council, has meant that Fylde has been clean and tidy throughout the summer.
“We wanted to support all our local volunteers with a campaign that would amplify the fantastic work they do all year round and we have had a lot of positive feedback from residents, businesses and visitors.
“The last two years have been the most challenging any of us can remember, with staycations meaning huge numbers have descended on our area.
“The seven days a week sessions carried out by staff, in addition to their normal duties, have been superb but we are hugely grateful to the army of volunteers for their unstinting efforts. We could not have done without them, so from all of us to all of them, a sincere thank you.”
Coastal conservationist and marine medic Tracey Hope is the lead coordinator for the volunteers and has been supporting the campaign throughout summer.
She said: “During the May half term holiday this year we were inundated with visitors and we saw more litter than ever before, which was heartbreaking to see.
“With more people holidaying in the UK this year we were expecting the same during the summer but we think the campaign has made a real difference to the amount of rubbish left behind.
“We saw a significant reduction in litter and a really promising increase in the number of people stepping forward to volunteer – including lots of young people and children – which is fantastic.
“I think that highlighting the plight of marine wildlife really helped and we had lots of people telling us that they didn’t know that we had porpoises, dolphins and seals in our waters.
“There was an increase in visibility in volunteers and council staff and the additional bins and collections played a vital part too.
“On behalf of all the volunteers, I would like to thank Fylde Council for their unwavering support in our fight against litter – this is ‘partnership working’ at its best.
“The work doesn’t stop there though and we will continue to be out and about keeping our multi-award-winning beach, and the surrounding areas, clean and tidy every day.”
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