Animals injured by Port Meadow litter over weekend

Published: Tuesday, 11th May 2021

Litter on Port Meadow left two animals needing vet treatment this weekend, with injuries that could have been life threatening.

The City Council recently launched its anti-littering campaign Don’t Feed The Animals to highlight the danger of litter for pets, livestock and wildlife. In a stark reminder, this weekend as a horse cut open its hoof on broken glass on Port Meadow and a cow suffered an intestinal blockage thought to be caused by eating litter.

As the weather warms up and restrictions on outdoor gatherings ease, the Council anticipates a bigger problem with littering in the city’s parks and green spaces. They are urging everyone to do their bit to keep places safe and clean.

Bag it, bin it or take it home – these are the three things you need to think about before you meet up for drinks or a picnic.

  • Make sure you have a bag with you for rubbish
  • Don’t rush off till you’ve collected what you brought
  • If the nearest bin is full keep it with you till you can find an emptier bin.

Overflowing bins can attract scavenging animals, who then spread the litter around creating a new litter problem. Even one piece a litter can be fatal, only a week ago a dog died from eating a disposable facemask in an Oxfordshire park.

“It’s heartbreaking when we see animals suffering because of people’s carelessness. ODS has regular litter collections, but it only takes a moment for an animal to eat litter or step on glass or metal left behind. Ultimately it’s up to all of us to clean up after ourselves so we don’t see any more harm.

“In the warm weather last summer we were collecting three tons of rubbish a day at Port Meadow – our teams can’t keep up with that rate of littering. Everyone knows they shouldn’t drop litter. However tempting it is to rush on to the next thing, just think about the harm you might cause by leaving rubbish behind. Bag it, bin it or take it home.”

Julian Cooper, ODS Port Meadow Ranger

Taking action on litter

As well as the hard-hitting Don’t Feed the Animals campaign, the City Council is taking action to deal with increased littering.

The Council has already increased bin capacity and frequency of collections, learning from the problems last summer as we emerged from the first lockdown.

At Port Meadow staff are out at 6am for early morning inspections and litter clearing.

The Council works with the police, when resources allow, to deter anti-social behaviour. Fines of up to £150 can be issued by Council staff as well as police for anyone caught littering.

The Council also supports volunteer litter picks from local groups, providing bags and equipment, and is supporting the OxClean Spring Clean on May 29, June 5 and June 12. OxClean also helps volunteers organise their own litter picks.

The Council’s Report It web page enables people to report a litter problem or overflowing bin so that it can be cleaned up.