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I briefly felt a little smug about the efforts we Brits make to support Keep Britain Tidy's annual clean-up event, during which groups and individual members of the public band together to collect rubbish that's been strewn around our towns, cities and countryside. It's a great initiative and one that takes a lot of organisation - not only by Keep Britain Tidy but by the various groups themselves - and it's to be commended. Why does it need to happen though? Shouldn't we be dealing with the cause, rather than the effect?
Learning today that British holidaymakers may well have abandoned almost 2.7 million lilos after their holidays in 2018 - enough to build an inflatable bridge from Gatwick Airport to the resort of Hurghada on Egypt's Red Sea coast, had me shaking my head in disbelief. And that's just the Brits!
In a survey conducted by Holiday Hypermarket, 25% said they left their lilo at the hotel at the end of their holiday, while 9% said they binned theirs before heading home. With the Association of British Travel Agents revealing that more than eight million package holidays were taken by Brits in 2018, the figures suggest that just over two million people left their lilos behind, with more than 700,000 throwing theirs away.
"Recent campaigns have raised awareness of the impact billions of bottles, straws and cigarette butts have on marine life, so now it's time for holidaymakers to think about the waste of using a lilo for just one holiday," says research leader Craig Duncan. Hotels describe lilos as an awful problem that's getting worse. When a holidaymaker leaves a lilo behind hotels have little choice but to store them or send them to landfill. We asked holidaymakers if they would use free lilos and inflatables provided by their hotel, but a staggering 57% said no. This means that even if people think their left-behind-lilo will be used by someone else, the chances are it won't. Our message is don't buy a new lilo until you've checked if there are any you can reuse, and don't abandon your lilo at the end of your holiday - either give it to another family or bring it home to use again."
As well as seeing an opening for lilo cleaning businesses to be set up, I can't help thinking that we really need to start educating people from an early age about the damage thoughtless consumption and careless dumping of rubbish, are having on our planet...
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7th February 2019