image captionJohnny Sanders says he takes a small bag to pick litter whenever he goes walking
People sick of seeing more and more rubbish lying around are picking up their bags and grabbers and going litter picking.
After BBC News featured Jac Danielle, who spends her spare time tidying up Coventry, many others got in contact to share stories of how volunteers are clearing up the West Midlands.
‘It is satisfying to look back over an area you have cleaned’
image captionMalcolm Rolling says collecting litter is a “good excuse” to go walking in the countryside
Johnny Sanders said he had noticed a number of pickers working separately around his town of Shifnal in Shropshire.
He decided to set up the TF11 Wombles group to bring them together and it now has more than 330 members online.
He first began picking litter about 18 months ago when, as a runner and dog walker, he started noticing more and more litter around the town.
“It started off as a way to curb my anger,” he said.
“People have a horrible habit of bagging their dog poo and hanging it in a tree, and that really did wind me up, but there was nothing I could do to fix it except collect it myself.
“Now when I go out walking I take a little bag and everything I see, I pick up and drop in a bag.
He said he had set up the group in part to connect local litter pickers and also to try to encourage people not to drop litter.
He chose to name it after The Wombles, the children’s characters who helped tidy Wimbledon Common, he said.
image captionThe Wombles tidied up Leicester Square, London, during the launch of a campaign against litter in the countryside.
“It has taken off absolutely wonderfully, young families are going out picking as a hobby at the weekend and in the evenings,” he said.
Malcolm Rolling is a member of the group and said on Saturday they had collected about 30 bags of rubbish.
A keen walker, he said: “It is an excuse to go out in countryside and to pick up litter.
image captionThere are no organised picks by the Shifnal Wombles; people can go out where they like, Malcolm Rolling said
“I’ve found a 2005 crisp packet, 2009 crisp packet, last week I found one from 2011 blowing across the middle of a field along a public right of way, where it has been for the last 10 years, I don’t know.”
Mr Rolling said it was “satisfying” to see an area having been cleaned.
“On the day you arrive you can see the litter on the surface and you know there is more in [the] grass.
“When you have finished it you look back and see a nice green verge with nothing sparkling out at you.”
‘We have an army of volunteers’
image captionSharon Coleman started litter picking by clearing up a park near her home in Lichfield, Staffordshire
Lichfield Litter Legends started off as a group of only half a dozen people picking litter in the north of the Staffordshire city.
But after Sharon Coleman and Bob Harrison turned it into its own charitable organisation last year, membership has spiralled.
Ms Coleman said it had grown “massively” over the past six months, with 180 active members picking all over the city.
Since January, Ms Coleman said, its members had collected 1,562 bags of litter from across Lichfield.
image captionMs Coleman says last week alone the group picked up 260 bags of litter
During the lockdown, she said, people had been going out on their own, or as family units, to pick.
“We do it [to] try to help wildlife and nature and for community pride,” she said.
“We are all over Lichfield, like an army of volunteers.”
image captionThe group has a number of “inspirational” members, Sharon Coleman says
She said they were “incredibly proud” of everyone helping out.
“You do get a lot of satisfaction, but the only upsetting thing is it is like gardening, you can weed one patch and within couple of weeks they are back again,” she said.
They hope to continue to educate people about the issue of littering in the hope to reduce the amount people drop.
Last year, volunteers helped clear rubbish left at the site of an illegal rave in Brookhay Woods, attended by more than 500 people.
image captionThe floor of Brookhay Woods was left strewn with debris including nitrous oxide canisters, balloons and bottles
Ms Coleman said they had retrieved “absolutely thousands” of nitrous oxide canisters.
Group chairman Mr Harrison said he believed the Covid-19 pandemic had seen numbers of litter pickers increase, as more people took walks around their local area.
image captionBob Harrison has written a book to encourage children not to drop litter
“The sort of things we pick up, you would not believe it, Sharon found a bag of lobster claws, we picked up a kitchen sink, barbecues, you would be amazed at the sort of things we pick up,” he said.
“But it is there so we pick it up.”
‘Rather than moaning about it, why not do something about it?’
image captionAnnabelle goes litter picking at weekends
Stephen Farrow, from Northfield, and his step-daughter 12-year-old Annabelle began noticing the litter and abandoned shopping trolleys near where they live in Birmingham.
They decided to take matters into their own hands and began collecting litter along the Rea Valley river walk, which they use every day.
“We kept walking past and moaning about people dropping litter,” he said.
“Then, we thought, rather than moaning about it, why not do something about it?
“It blights a really nice space that people use a lot.”
They have gone out picking at weekends for the past three weeks.
image captionAnnabelle “loves” helping to tidy up the area, said Mr Farrow
Mr Farrow believes the increase in people using their local outside spaces due to the lockdown has caused the rise of rubbish.
“It is just about improving [the] area we live in,” he said.
“[Annabelle] really loves it actually.
“She carries the litter picker, I watch her and hold the bag… I have to bring her in because I start to get cold but I think she would be out there all day.
“People say the council should do it, but we live in these areas.
“It looks clean and tidy; I think there will be more reluctance to damage it more.”
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