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Blog 18: A Summer of Kindness

Blog 18: A Summer of Kindness

A SUMMER OF KINDNESS

The Royal Parks launched their campaign in July following an extraordinary few months when “our” two Parks, Kensington Gardens in particular, were almost overwhelmed with visitors who were desperate to get some fresh air and exercise.

Unfortunately, not all have been well behaved and you will know by now from our Blogs that extra tonnes of litter have been left in their wake.

We also understand, from our members reports, that cyclists are a problem, using every inch of path and grass as easy routes, with no consideration for anybody else.

So #BeKindtoYourParks was launched in July and you can see it on our website. It is also worth exploring to enjoy a video of Kensington Gardens manager, Andy Williams, doing a ‘walk and talk’ about the volume of rubbish. His presentation is interesting and his lock down hair very impressive.

All our members and families are true Parks’ friends and so this campaign is certainly not aimed at you. If it’s a slight consolation, every London park is reporting the same difficulties. Not all are lucky enough to have our wonderful teams of Vinci Cleaners and OCS gardeners to keep things in order.


We will pursue and report back to you on the off piste cyclists.

Below you can see Trustee Joanna Clark’s breakdown of statistics to show just how enormous the rubbish problem has been. Joanna is our representative on the Safer Parks panel which meets regularly with the police.

THE SAD STORY OF LITTER

While lockdown has brought many more people into The Parks who for the first time may appreciate our glorious London Parks, it has produced an unfortunate side effect…..soaring levels of littering!

An astonishing 258.4 tonnes of rubbish was collected from London’s eight Royal Parks in June alone – the equivalent in weight of 20 new London buses, or 74 elephants.


It took staff 11,078 hours (the equivalent of 15 months) just to clear the litter – in addition to the time spent emptying bins.

Park managers have reported never-before-seen levels of littering every day, including plastic bags, pizza boxes, glass bottles, picnic items and PPE, even office furniture and a Christmas Tree in Kensington Gardens.

The levels increase particularly on warm evenings and over sunny weekends. This is despite increased numbers of bins in place, more frequent emptying to accommodate greater volumes of rubbish, and staff starting sometimes as early as 5am to ensure the parks are pristine when the majority of visitors arrive.

Sadly, this waste, apart from being an eyesore and disruptive, can cause real harm to the environment and the wildlife. Plastic waste can get worked into the ground, plastic bags blow onto waterways harming waterfowl, and wildlife can ingest items causing them pain or even death.

Unsightly litter spoils the parks for others and is a strain on the charity’s resources.

In response, The Royal Parks is launching a ‘Summer of Kindness’ campaign, to inspire visitors to care for the 5,000 acres of historic green spaces as we head into the summer holidays and more hot weather is predicted.
Tom Jarvis, Director of Parks at The Royal Parks, said: “It’s been truly fantastic to see more people enjoying our parks and getting closer to nature for a spot of R&R, to keep fit or to spend time with family and friends in the fresh air. The downside is the litter. We’ve never seen anything like this. Every day we wake up to unprecedented levels of litter and so we’re asking everyone who visits the parks for a bit of help to spread some kindness this summer and help us look after the environment. Binning litter or taking it home will keep the parks beautiful places for everyone to enjoy – and will help ensure that our incredible wildlife continues to thrive and stay safe.”

PS
Be Kind to the Friends!
Have you any skills you would be willing to use to help the Friends out?

We are now looking for a Newsletter editor and would also like to strengthen our Board with trustees who can give us help, time and some much needed energy!

To talk this through and explore possibilities, please email:
contact@friendshpkg.org.uk

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