Over the past year, the community within Huntingdonshire has been extremely resilient in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on their neighbourhood and outdoor spaces for daily walks and exercise. Unfortunately, there has also been an increase in littering of these vital outdoors areas linked to the dramatic increase in footfall.

Huntingdonshire communities have not been disheartened and have seized the opportunity to act against littering in their towns and villages. This year so far, the district council has had over 689 individual volunteers take part in a litter pick in their local area, with many more expected to have picked litter without being credited. This is more than the 598 litter picking volunteers from the whole of 2020 and much more than the 331 in the comparative period last year.

Some communities, such as St Ives, Sawtry and St Neots, have recently formed social media groups of like-minded people to create a coordinated effort against litter hotspots. These groups have been extremely effective and the subsequent impact on the environment, loneliness, mental health, and community spirit can be widely felt.

Neil Sloper, Head of Operations, said: "With this additional help from local communities we have been able to achieve greater coverage of litter picking and cleaning. We want to say a huge thank you to all who are supporting our Street Cleansing Team and making a real difference to their communities in such a difficult and demanding year.

"This year we will again be supporting Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, which sees volunteers from all over the country making an impact in their local community. We anticipate this year will be our most successful to date, with more of our communities wanting to get involved than ever before."

With COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted throughout the coming summer, visits to parks, town centres and other outdoor recreational areas are likely to increase. Litter does not only harm the natural environment but also impacts the mental health benefits of green space and how a town is perceived. Please ensure your litter is put in a bin provided or taken home with you if your nearest bin is full.

If you are interested in organising your own community litter pick or joining the District Council in this year’s Great British Spring Clean (28 May- 13 June), please email us at LitterMinimisation@huntingdonshire.gov.uk