Over 3,500 volunteers across Durham and Darlington rallied to take part in this year’s Big Spring Clean.
The campaign, run by LitterFree Durham and Darlington in partnership with Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council, encourages individuals, community groups and schools to organise litter picks and help tidy up their towns and villages.
This year, an incredible volume of litter was collected between February and April, with the clean launched by a special event held at Locomotion Museum in Shildon on Valentine’s Day.
In Durham, 3,318 bags of rubbish were picked by 2,215 people across the county. The litter was collected during 187 litter picks, totalling 5,202.5 volunteer hours.
Meanwhile in Darlington, 1,690 bags of rubbish, plus more than five tonnes of bulky waste, were collected by 1,304 people who gave up 2,375.5 volunteer hours to carry out 181 litter picks.
Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “The time and effort given by volunteers is wonderful. We all have a responsibility to keep our environment clean and litter free, and these volunteers are a shining example of how we can all contribute.
“This year, we encouraged volunteers to collect recyclable plastics, tins and glass separately to make sure items could be recycled, making the whole scheme even greener.
“Next year will be the campaign’s eleventh year, and we hope it will be bigger than ever.”
Oliver Sherratt, Durham County Council’s head of environment, said: “We would like to thank everyone who got out there and made a difference. Litter free environments not only make more attractive places for us to live, but also benefit nature and wildlife.”
Cllr Gerald Lee, chair of LitterFree Durham and Darlington, added: “LitterFree Durham has been raising awareness of the litter problem for 14 years and organising the Big Spring Clean for ten. It is good to see that every year volunteers take to the streets to clean them up – a big thank you to everyone.
“Since Dir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet television program the awareness of the plastic in our oceans has never been so high, but we should remember that plastic and litter kills on the land as well as in the seas around the world, so the same message holds – do not drop litter anywhere.”
Brian Graham, head of environmental services at Darlington Borough Council, said: “The Big Spring Clean acts as a reminder to people to dispose of litter correctly, whilst encouraging residents to help tidy up their area by organising a litter pick in their community. In doing so, people are making a real difference to the local environment.”