Over the past two years, the RSPCA have received over 7,500 calls regarding animals affected by litter in the UK, averaging more than 10 calls a day.
The calls received refer to animals being found severely injured, trapped, mutilated, choked or even killed by carelessly discarded litter.
For South Yorkshire, in 2020, the RSPCA received 64 calls regarding animals affected by litter. This reduced to 44 in 2021 but remains a concerning amount for animal welfare.
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This year for the Great British Spring Clean Challenge, the RSPCA are urging people to take part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Big Bag challenge and help protect animals by picking up any litter they see lying around and disposing of their own litter properly and responsibly.
Evie Button, RSPCA Scientific Officer, said: “Our staff deal with thousands of incidents every year where animals have been impacted by litter - and they’re the ones that we know of. I’m sure for every animal we’re able to help there are many that go unseen, unreported and may even lose their lives.
"Litter is one of the biggest hazards our wildlife faces today. It's a problem on all of our doorsteps - from city centres to the countryside and beaches - so all of us can do something to help. Spring is an ideal time to go on a litter-pick because it's before the breeding season when young animals such as fox cubs start getting into trouble, and litter will be more visible in hedges before the vegetation really starts growing.
"Animals who get their heads or necks stuck in litter can suffer severe injuries as they struggle to break free and can even suffocate, while others will slowly grow weaker and weaker as they try to hunt or find food or water.
"That’s why we’re calling on the public to get involved in the Great British Spring Clean to help remove litter that may endanger animals.”
For more information on the RSPCA, visit their website.