Hundreds of litter pickers cleaned up Essex during a ten-day challenge run by an environmental protection group. 

Essex Wildlife Trust launched its Spring Pickers campaign in March to tackle litter in the county. 

Between March 9 and 18, the organisation urged people to sign up for the project and pick up five pieces of litter every day for ten days. 

Concerned over the impact of plastic pollution on wildlife, the trust originally hoped to see 100 people joining their cause. 

Halstead Gazette: Cleaning - Hundreds of volunteers, like the South East Essex Ramblers picked up more than 20,000

But that target was far surpassed, with a total of 477 sign-ups by the end of the campaign, including individuals, schools, nurseries, businesses, walking groups, children’s activity groups and litter picking groups. 

Halstead and Sible Hedingham libraries, alongside other community hubs in the county, also pledged their support and offered free equipment to participants. 

Gemma Cosson, campaigns assistant at Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “Thanks to Spring Pickers, our wildlife will be sharing its home with almost 24,000 fewer pieces of litter.  

Halstead Gazette:

“We have been overwhelmed with the efforts made to clean up our county, with many individuals and groups going above and beyond the five pieces a day target. 

“Litter can have detrimental impacts across all species and habitats, so it’s fantastic to see people taking action against such a huge environmental issue.  

“Due to the vast enthusiasm for Spring Pickers, we look forward to running the campaign again next year.” 

The trust reported that at least 23,850 pieces of litter were picked up during the campaign. 

South East Essex Ramblers, participants in Spring Pickers, said: “All members were quite enthusiastic about this campaign. All sorts of things were found, including bubble wrap, cans and plastic.  

“On all four walks conducted for Spring Pickers, the group did their best, although some only scratched the surface.  

“On one walk, the group reported seeing school children picking up litter as well, so the campaign was spreading. We ensured that all litter was disposed of in the correct manner.”