WILDLIFE experts are concerned that animals could poison themselves by eating rubbish left on the street during the bin strike.

Refuse workers in Brighton and Hove have been on strike this week, with overflowing bins now posing a risk to wildlife.

There are fears that animals in the city could become ill and die after mistaking discarded waste for food.

Animals could also get stuck in litter and become injured while trying to free themselves.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: "Litter is one of the biggest hazards facing our wildlife today.

"The RSPCA took 3,874 calls about animals affected by litter across England and Wales in 2020.

"Animals who get their heads or necks stuck in the litter can suffer severe injuries as they struggle to break free and can even suffocate, while others will slowly grow weaker and weaker as they try to hunt or find food or water.

"Litter may also be mistaken for food and be ingested with lethal consequences.

"So it's vital that we all do our bit in the war against litter. Whether it's making sure bins lids are firmly secured or picking up and safely disposing of discarded litter, our individual actions could save an animal's life."

The Argus: Bins are overflowing in Brighton and HoveBins are overflowing in Brighton and Hove

Peta UK, an animal charity, has put advice out on litter, advising people to cut apart six-pack plastic rings as they can choke animals if they become entangled around their neck.

The charity has also said to try and reuse items such as shopping bags whenever possible to reduce the amount of rubbish that is being thrown away.

Vice president Mimi Bekhechi said: "Everyday items like fizzy drink cans, tins, and plastic-ring packaging can be deadly for unsuspecting wildlife, who often get their heads stuck while looking for food – especially during the cold winter months.

"So, Peta urges Brighton and Hove residents to dispose of any rubbish properly during and after the bin strike.

"This includes sealing rubbish bags tightly, rinsing out tin cans and dropping the ring pulls inside so that they can't cut an animal's tongue, crushing cans and cups, putting the lids back on bottles, cutting up plastic-ring packaging, and cutting open empty cardboard and plastic containers so that small animals can't get their faces or heads trapped inside them.

"These actions could mean the difference between life and death for an animal."

The strike by Brighton's Cityclean, recycling, commercial waste and HGV drivers are planned to last two weeks and was triggered after a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The strike began on Tuesday, October 5, after 100 per cent of GMB Union members voted in favour of the walkout in Brighton.

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