Environmentalist and BBC presenter Chris Packham has photographed the devastating effects that littering can have on wildlife in a series of striking images.
Commissioned by Lidl UK, which will be donating £500,000 from the proceeds of the plastic bag charge to a new Keep Britain Tidy initiative, the pictures are supporting a campaign designed to encourage young people to reduce litter.
Packham, 54, said: “People who litter are unwittingly helping to kill and injure the wildlife we all love. As a naturalist, I'm only too aware of mankind's impact on the natural world and litter is one very visible example of this. Not only is it unsightly but it seriously affects wild animals both on land and in our oceans.
“I was delighted to be asked to explore this issue through the camera lens, juxtaposing the inherent beauty of our natural world with the ugliness of the litter and rubbish carelessly discarded each and every day. Through these images I hope to inspire people to dispose of their litter more responsibly and play their part in caring for the fabulously diverse wildlife that enriches us all.”
Keep Britain Tidy hopes that the photographs will inspire young people to capture their own images of how litter impacts the world around them, as part of a nationwide photography competition to be launched shortly.
Some people have already been tweeting their own pictures to Packham and Keep Britain Tidy:
— Dr Jeannie Dagless (@MinxGenie) February 24, 2016
— Sarah Burthe (@SarahBurthe) February 23, 2016
Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “We know that the majority of children and young people do care about their environment and don’t drop litter. The support of Lidl, through the donation of the proceeds from the single-use bag charge, will help us engage with those young people and create a generation of young people who not only care about their environment but are also equipped to do something to help.”
Lidl UK’s CEO Ronny Gottschlich: “We take our environmental responsibility as a grocery retailer very seriously. Despite having always charged for our carrier bags, we acknowledge that there is a lot of work still to be done in achieving our long-term vision of helping to protect the country's stunning natural heritage.
“We are proud to announce this new partnership and hope that the work we'll be doing alongside one another will encourage people to think twice before littering."
Last year, the 5p plastic carrier bag charge came into force in England. Wales has charged for single-use plastic bags since 2011.
Using the Welsh statistics, an infographic produced by personalised.co.uk predicted that England could expect to use 5.4 billion fewer single use bags, raising between £425 and £550 million raised for good causes by the 5p charge.