Popular tourist destinations in Snowdonia have experienced a surge in litter throughout the summer - and they’re bracing themselves for more “accidental fly-tipping” during the Bank Holiday weekend. Waste disposal facilities have struggled to cope with the high number of visitors, leaving bins overflowing with waste.
Honeypot sites including Nantgwynant valley beneath Snowdon, Llyn Padarn in Llanberis and Llyn Tegid lake at Bala have been plagued with litter as people dump their rubbish next to full bins. Bags of waste along with loose litter have all been abandoned at beauty sites, instead of visitors taking their waste home.
Beauty spots also face the problem of tourists ditching their barbecues and camping equipment after their stay. According to Fly-Tipping Action Wales (FTAW), many of Wales’ pristine landscapes are being “blighted” by abandoned items, NorthWales Live reports.
Snowdonia National Park Authority said it has seen little sign of a staycation slowdown this year. And with a decent Bank Holiday forecast in the offing, another deluge of “accidental” littering is expected over the coming days.
In an attempt to tackle the issue, FTAW has linked up with National Parks Wales to issue a special plea: for visitors to bring their own rubbish bags with them – and to take their litter home.
Neil Harrison, FTAW project manager, said: “We’re seeing a concerning increase in what we’re calling “accidental fly-tipping”. People think they’re being helpful by putting their rubbish beside the bins, but in reality, it’s an instance of illegal fly-tipping. Any member of the public found guilty of fly-tipping could face a costly fine.
“There’s only so much capacity for local authority refuse collectors, and it’s not safe to leave an unmanageable surplus of rubbish for collection. This means that leaving bins overflowing is not only an environmental issue, but also a public health matter.”
Littering issues have become particularly acute during this summer’s heatwaves. At Llyn Padarn, volunteers spent days clearing up rubbish-strewn paths and car parks. To get an idea of the extent of the problem at the lake, you can see a video here.
A recent report by the UK rural ministry found one in five people had admitted to some form of “accidental fly-tipping”. Worse still, according to Natural Resources Wales, a quarter of the Welsh population feel it’s acceptable to drop litter even if a bin isn’t nearby.
FTAW believes visitors must learn to go on days out equipped with their own rubbish bags – and “leave nothing but footprints”. Jodie Bond, of Brecon Beacons National Park, said: “We’d like to say a huge “diolch” to every single visitor who brings a rubbish bag with them on their next visit to the great outdoors of Wales.
“The trend of accidental fly-tipping at beauty spots has grown in direct parallel with increased visitors looking for outdoor escapes during and after the pandemic. Many of them are new audiences, unfamiliar with the guidance encompassed by the Countryside Code.”
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