The call has gone out to residents and visitors to stop dropping litter and so help reduce the £600,000 a year that Suffolk Coastal is spending on clearing up other people’s mess.
While the countywide Don’t be a Tosser campaign, led by BBC Radio Suffolk, will soon be marking its fifth year of combating litter across the county, Suffolk Coastal is highlighting the financial and environmental cost of rubbish.
“There really is no excuse for dropping any litter or fly-tipping anywhere in our district as there are so many easy ways to properly dispose of any items, whether it be in one of the thousands of litter bins or recycling banks, or at one of the household waste recycling centres,” said Cllr Andrew Nunn, Cabinet Member for the Green Environment.
“The thoughtless actions of just a few people are costing us all £600,000 a year, as that is what this Council has to spend on its street cleaning service, money which in these tough financial times could be much better spent.
“Discarded litter, whether it is a cigarette butt or chewing gum, or food cartons, cans or bottles, all have an environmental impact on our district as well. I would strongly urge the few who are costing us all so much to be more responsible and as the campaign says, to stop being a tosser. I would also warn those who are littering that they risk being fined,” added Cllr Nunn.
The Council’s energies have recently been concentrated on tackling litter caused by motorists, with over 80 caught since April and issued with Fixed Penalty Notices for dropping litter.
Keeping the stretches of the A12 and A14 within the district clean of litter is one of the thankless tasks facing the Council’s Suffolk Coastal Services teams. A dedicated crew covers these main routes on a continuous basis routinely collecting litter that has come from passing vehicles.
“It must be a soul-destroying job for our SCS team who are doing such a great job clearing these main roads of quite often unpleasant litter. They know that they will have more to start collecting again once they return to the same stretches of these main roads.
“I really hope that the message gets through at last to all motorists and everyone else dropping litter that enough is enough. Please just bag up your rubbish and throw it away or recycle it as there are so many ways that this can be easily done,” added Cllr Nunn.
Free pocket ashtrays for cigarette butts are on offer from SCS – call 01394 444000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, which are also the contacts details for anyone wanting to report someone dropping litter or fly-tipping.
Anyone caught dropping any sort of litter can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to £80, or risk having to pay £2,500 if taken to Court. The penalties for fly tipping are even stricter, with the upper limit being £50,000 or even imprisonment.