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Take it Home - Argus launches anti-beach litter campaign
9:52am Tuesday 29th May 2012 in News
Cleaning up litter in Brighton and Hove costs the city more than £5m a year. After the busiest weekend of the year so far residents were disgusted to wake up to a beach strewn with litter. Today The Argus launches its Take It Home campaign, urging tourists and locals alike to take their rubbish home with them and keep the county clean. Peter Truman reports.
Rubbish is a huge drain on council resources, with the authority employing 178 street cleaning staff across the city, at a cost of £5.2m a year.
Nearly 100 workers cover the central area, which includes the city’s biggest tourist attraction – the beach.
Patrols are out from 6am to 10pm seven days a week to try to keep it clean.
But the scale of the problem is huge, with almost a tonne of rubbish found on Sussex beaches in a single week.
Up to 100,000 visitors descended on Brighton and Hove at the weekend, but residents were horrified by the mess left behind.
Several readers contacted The Argus to complain of the beer bottles, barbecues and other detritus discarded on the beach.
Clive Andrews, who lives in Shoreham and works in Brighton, was one of those who was upset by the litter left after the sunny weekend.
The 36-year-old said: “Every day I cycle along the seafront and back. Most summer mornings it’s a real pleasure but this morning, the beach and lawns looked disgusting. I love Brighton and it really offends me to see the city being treated this way.”
Sonia Griffiths, of Hove, said the beach looked like a rubbish dump on Sunday morning after revellers had left their litter behind.
She said: “I always try to get down to the beach early on a sunny day to walk.
Disgusted “On Sunday I was absolutely aghast. The beach was festooned with rubbish and broken glass on the pebbles.
“I was so disgusted – there was barely a foot of beach without rubbish.
“If I dumped rubbish in the street I could be fined. We welcome holidaymakers and others but they need to take their rubbish with them. They think the beach is fair game.”
During the Marine Conservation Society’s recent Beachwatch Big Weekend, more than 950kg of junk was removed from Sussex beaches, with balloons and plastic bags containing dog mess among the most common items.
Volunteers on 18 Sussex beaches filled 150 sacks with waste, with the number of bags of dogs mess up by 11% from the year before.
Council street cleaners have discovered everything from tyres to a mannequin on the beach as they clear up.
The litter is a blight on a stretch of coastline which recently received Blue Flags for five of its beaches and is loved by tourists and locals alike.
The Argus’s latest campaign aims to raise awareness of the blight of litter and urge people to take their rubbish home with them.
All three of the city’s MPs have put their names behind our campaign to make sure people respect the environment while enjoying themselves.
The city council’s environment and sustainability committee chairman, Councillor Pete West, has backed our Take It Home campaign.
He said: “The seafront and our parks are among the city’s greatest assets and the recent glorious weather has been a wonderful opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy them.
“However, we’ve received many complaints about a lack of respect for these areas over the weekend, with people leaving litter strewn across the beach despite public bins just yards away.
“The council is working hard to clear up and we will be putting out extra bins during the busiest times. But ultimately everyone should spare a few moments to tidy up after themselves and take some responsibility so that others can enjoy these spaces too.
“I hope this coming Jubilee weekend we’ll see everyone respecting one another and taking pride in our shared environment.
“Our thanks to The Argus for its awareness campaign.”