Gulls & Buoys – Litter Critters and Harbour Clean Ups

This summer, as well as making sure we can all enjoy our city’s fantastic public events, I want to drive and embed a lasting culture change in people’s attitudes to litter. If everyone is responsible with their rubbish, then we will be one step closer to making Bristol the cleaner and tidier place we all want it to be.

I would like to start by thanking the hardworking Bristol Waste teams. Recently, we have had a variety of events and celebrations attracting visitors from around the world to Bristol. St. Paul’s Carnival, Pride, and the Harbour Festival all showcased the best of Bristol. Close to 400,000 people attended, and the events would not have been as successful as they were without the input of colleagues, such as the Council’s Arts & Events team or the Harbour Master. Despite the soaring temperatures of the heatwave, teams from Bristol Waste followed the festivities and worked tirelessly to tidy up the city, and I am grateful for all they have done.

Bristol Waste crews are in high demand in the wake of several major celebrations in city centre. But across the city, leaving waste next to bins or littering in the streets creates additional issues which slows the entire service for everyone. We are working to address the way rubbish is collected, but irresponsible rubbish disposal is a major problem. Keeping Bristol clean is our collective responsibility, and not one that rests with Bristol Waste alone.

This is why our latest Clean Streets initiative with Bristol Waste educates people about the consequences of littering. The Litter Critter campaign is on bins across the city centre, with animal installations and stickers with the message ‘don’t feed the litter critters’. To discourage litter critters and to help keep Bristol clean and tidy, we’re encouraging everyone to use the bin, or if it’s full, use another one nearby or take your rubbish with you. If people drop litter or leave their rubbish in a bag next to the bin, wildlife such as gulls, foxes and rats can get hold of it and spread it around. The presence of litter also attracts these ‘litter critters’ and gives them a source of food for scavenging.


Last month I attended a Bristol Harbour Clean Up. It was great to join all of the fantastic volunteers who came along and helped to pick up the rubbish that accumulates in and around our harbour. Throughout the afternoon, we collected 19 bags of litter, with 10 bags being recyclable – mostly drink cans and bottles. We also found shoes, footballs and even a giant inflatable beach ball. It was disappointing to see so much rubbish polluting our harbour. But thanks to the hard work of all the dedicated volunteers, the Harbour was measurably cleaner by the end of the day.

Litter Critters

The next Bristol Harbour Clean Up is taking place on Sunday 19 August at 2.00pm. The meeting point is on the pontoon in front of the Arnolfini. Visit here for further information.

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