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Volunteers clean town after ‘unprecedented’ levels of waste reported

PUBLISHED: 19:07 05 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 06 July 2020

The Peverley family joined in with Litter-Free Felixstowe's clean-up Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Peverley family joined in with Litter-Free Felixstowe's clean-up Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Nearly 100 people have spent the weekend cleaning up Felixstowe after ‘unprecedented’ levels of waste were discovered around the town as coronavirus lockdown restrictions eased.

Organiser of the Litter Free Felixstowe group, Debbie Bartlett. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOrganiser of the Litter Free Felixstowe group, Debbie Bartlett. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Volunteers from the Litter-Free Felixstowe group have been out with their litter pickers and rubbish bags after the amount of waste dumped in the area reportedly skyrocketed in recent weeks.

The group, started by Felixstowe resident Debbie Bartlett two years ago, is frequently seen cleaning up mess at the town’s landmarks, such as the beach and pier.

They have not been able to meet as a group for several months due to the Covid-19 outbreak, with Mrs Bartlett becoming increasingly frustrated with rubbish being dumped in the area - with takeaway food packaging a common find.

Prior to the event, she said the levels of waste in Felixstowe were “unprecedented” and higher than ever seen before the lockdown came into effect in March.

Children ready to clean up the beach in Felixstowe Picture: DENISE BRADLEYChildren ready to clean up the beach in Felixstowe Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In response, Mrs Bartlett arranged for volunteers to spend Friday to Monday cleaning up the town in small groups, all while respecting social distancing guidelines.

The event proved to be a family affair and even had a special guest in Mr Bean, portrayed by Nigel Dixon.

MORE: ‘Feral few’ blamed for rise in littering in Suffolk

Nigel Dixon, in character as Mr Bean, joined in the effort Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNigel Dixon, in character as Mr Bean, joined in the effort Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

More visitors were expected to visit Felixstowe at the weekend - with pubs, restaurants and cafes being allowed to reopen on what was dubbed Super Saturday.

James Mallinder, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for the environment, had already urged people to be responsible with their waste and warned there was “no excuse” for littering.

Mrs Bartlett said she hopes the presence of the litter pickers on what was a busy weekend would convey the message that littering is not acceptable under any circumstance.

She said: “I’m amazed by how many people have been out and about. People have really stepped up over the weekend.

The Litter-Free Felixstowe group regularly meet up to clean the town Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Litter-Free Felixstowe group regularly meet up to clean the town Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“Lots of people have stopped us in Felixstowe and asked how to join and get involved. It has been wonderful and we got a lot of ‘thank you’ messages from people passing.

“This weekend has made a massive difference. Some of the parts of the town now look immaculate.

“We owe a massive thank you to everyone who has stepped up. Litter is still a problem, but the town is looking better.”

MORE: ‘Unprecedented’ levels of litter spark weekend-long clean-up

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