Friends groups of the borough’s parks are becoming increasingly concerned at the behaviour and conduct of some of those who swarmed into the open spaces at the weekend, leaving tons of rubbish behind them.
The photograph above was taken near the car park in Lloyd Park, after a sunny summer’s weekend saw thousands of people flock to the park for picnics and barbecues, ignoring the lockdown regulations introduced to tackle coronavirus. Inside Croydon has received reports of similar anti-social behaviour in other parks, too, prompting serious health concerns.
Even as those rules are being eased from today, gathering in groups of more than six in public spaces is not allowed. And leaving piles of rubbish is not allowed, whatever the circumstances.
With council parks budgets reduced to little or nothing, it has increasingly become the task of volunteers and friends’ groups to carry out basic maintenance functions like litter-picking. But the scale of the rubbish left dumped in the parks during the covid-19 emergency is as daunting as it is disgusting.
“Why do people think that they can trash a public park in this way,” one concerned volunteer told Inside Croydon.
With a continuing possibility of the spread of the virus, having to dispose of other people’s rubbish puts the health of council contractors or volunteers who deal with it at risk.
“If this is what is supposed to be the ‘new normal’, it doesn’t look much different from the ‘old normal’, except we probably have fewer resources to deal with it,” said the source.
“The people who left their rubbish behind could have, should have taken it home with them – they clearly were able to bring it with them to the park, so they ought to have taken it away with them, instead of making it someone else’s problem.”
There is also growing fears that there could soon be grass fires in one of the borough’s parks and beauty spots, caused by people breaking park by-laws by using disposable barbecue trays.
With virtually no rain since February, open spaces are tinder dry and need little for the grass to catch fire – as happened at Croham Hurst two years ago, with a series of fires on the delicate heathland habitat which took the Fire Brigade several visits to deal with.
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