CPRE launches citizen science project to tackle litter in Yorkshire

Tourists and people living in Yorkshire are being asked to track litter in a bid to help remove unsightly mess from the beautiful local landscape.

CPRE are working to tackle the blight of litter on the stunning Yorkshire landscape
CPRE are working to tackle the blight of litter on the stunning Yorkshire landscape

The idea is the brainchild of CPRE The Countryside Charity, which promotes accessible green space for all, including Yorkshire’s three national parks, three Areas of Outstanding Beauty, eleven National Nature Reserves and breathtaking Heritage Coast.

Surveys carried out by the last year discovered some shocking results, according to North Yorkshire chair Jan Arger.

“At CPRE, we are working to tackle the blight of litter, in Yorkshire and beyond. Last year, we launched our Litter in Lockdown study, which revealed the extent of the issue across England.”

Many areas have reported an explosion of litter-related problems since lockdown began. Research carried out by the Lake District National Park Authority reported that 300 bags of litter were collected over a single weekend – a record amount – and CPRE research in Essex across over 140 sites revealed the shocking extent of the issue: smoking materials found in 99 per cent of sites, packaging at 90 per cent, drinks containers in 67 per cent and discarded PPE at 38 per cent of sites studied.

Mrs Arger added: “Litter is not only unsightly, it poses severe risks to nature, wildlife and the environment. Discarded cigarettes can cause wildfires, such as that which raged on Marsden Moor earlier this year, destroying livelihoods and risking the lives of those in the area and the firefighters sent to tackle the blaze.

“Animals can be injured or killed, especially when mistakenly ingesting abandoned rubbish, and non-biodegradable waste will pollute our landscapes and watercourses for thousands of years.

“We also have a responsibility to protect and enrich the natural world around us.”

Now the charity has launched a litter tracker site which will put power in the hands of the people, allowing them to report problems within minutes.

Mrs Arger said: “We are launching our largest ever citizen science project here in North Yorkshire. We have developed a simple and straightforward litter tracker that anyone can use to report issues of litter in their local area.

“By collecting this information, we’ll be able to better understand what litter is being discarded and where, to flag blackspots, and to challenge authorities and policy-makers to do more to tackle this issue. We will also share the data with local councils and community groups.

“Making a report takes less than two minutes from any computer or mobile phone. The more information we gather, the better we can tackle the scourge of littering in our county.”

She added: “As The Countryside Charity, we want a thriving, beautiful countryside for everyone. We believe in countryside and green spaces that are accessible to all, rich in nature and playing a crucial role in responding to the climate emergency. Green spaces enrich all of our lives, promoting physical health and mental well-being.”

To complete the survey, visit http://littertracker.co.uk

Find out more about the work of CRPE at https://www.cprenorthyorkshire.co.uk.