Greenwich Park bosses are appealing to visitors to bin their litter or take it home after picking up 36 tonnes of rubbish in June – more than treble the amount left behind in the same month last year.
Cleaning teams spent 1,000 hours cleaning up after careless visitors last month, with the total weight of Greenwich Park rubbish in June coming to the equivalent of three new London buses.
Despite more bins being put in place, more frequent emptying of bins and cleaners starting work at 5am, the amount of rubbish left behind in the park last month was more than three times the 10 tonnes dumped in June 2019.
Royal Parks says litter is up at all its parks outside central London, with managers reporting “never-before-seen levels of littering” on the grass every day, including plastic bags, pizza boxes, glass bottles, picnic items and PPE. It says plastic waste can get worked into the ground, bags can blow onto water and harm birds, while wildlife can eat items, causing them pain or even death.
It is now launching a “Summer of Kindness” campaign to persuade visitors to take more care of the open space.
Tom Jarvis, its director of parks, said: “It’s been truly fantastic to see more people enjoying our parks and getting closer to nature for a spot of R&R, to keep fit or to spend time with family and friends in the fresh air. We’ve had lots of really nice messages from people thanking us for keeping the parks open and telling us how the parks have been a lifeline for them, particularly for those without gardens.
“But the downside is the litter. We’ve never seen anything like this before. Every day we wake up to unprecedented levels of litter, with PPE, pizza boxes, plastic bags and picnic scraps strewn all over the grass. And we fear the worst is yet to come, with another spell of hot weather on the way.
“So we’re asking everyone who visits the parks for a bit of help to spread some kindness this summer and help us look after the environment. Binning litter or taking it home will keep the parks beautiful places for everyone to enjoy – and will help ensure that our incredible wildlife continues to thrive and stay safe.”
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