Environmental waste is once again hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons as it is announced that around 3.2 million mice, voles and shrews die each year due to rubbish thrown into roadsides and hedgerows from vehicles and illegally dumped waste. Once again plastic waste comes under fire as a death trap for these small mammals but essentially waste like this along with aluminium cans are causing unnecessary deaths as these vulnerable species crawl into the waste and then can’t find a way out.
The 18 month study on roadside waste was led by RSPB volunteer Graham Moates and supported by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. By examining waste in South Norfolk the study found that 1 in 10 cartons or items had traces of dead animals in them. Both organisations are urging people to not toss rubbish out of the vehicles and Keep Britain Tidy have launched a ‘Don’t be a Tosser’ campaign that targets this very issue. It also further highlights the need to clamp down on fly tipping and people using unlicensed waste removal firms.
These small mammals are essential to the food chain and so protecting them from a completely unnecessary end is of huge importance according to Moates and fellow supporters including Keep Britain Tidy ambassador and TV presenter Chris Packham.
Fortunately new rules that come into force in April means that councils will be able to fine individuals caught littering. Registered keepers of a vehicle may find themselves receiving a fine, even if they didn’t throw the rubbish, in a bid to come down hard on anyone found to be littering on CCTV footage. Chief of Keep Britain Tidy Allison Ogden-Newton is imploring councils to enforce the new rules to punish those that litter these roadside verges and wildlife havens.
Simple ways to keep your vehicle tidy could include having a bag or bin placed in the vehicle to capture all the waste. Rubbish can then be removed periodically in a quick and easy way. When looking for ways to get rid of excess household waste people should also request to see the waste carriers license, otherwise they also risk a hefty fine.
Packham is passionate about British wildlife and believes that we all have a responsibility to do more to protect our environment. Not throwing litter from vehicles and dumping waste needs to stop in order to protect wildlife and their natural habitats.