PEOPLE are being urged to become “litter heroes” by helping to clean up the New Forest this spring.
Last year 1,200 volunteers went out in the district to take part in the Great British Spring Clean which is led nationally by the Keep Britain Tidy charity.
This year the national park authority and district council are asking people to get together to arrange litter picks which can take place between 20th March and 13th April.
NFDC can loan equipment to those getting involved as well as give advice and arrange collection of rubbish afterwards.
The initiative has the backing of the verderers who are concerned about the amount of waste posing a threat to livestock.
Official Verderer Lord Manners said: “The verderers very much support the Spring Clean. Rubbish left on the Forest can be very dangerous to the commoners’ animals who will sometimes eat it.
“Animals have died from eating plastic. Donkeys and cattle are attracted to plastic waste as are young foals.”
The New Forest Spring Clean is a joint initiative between NFDC and the verderers, as well as the national park authority, Forestry England, Hampshire County Council and the National Trust.
Cllr Alison Hoare, NFDC’s cabinet member for the environment and regulatory services, said: “The New Forest Spring Clean was such a successful event last year, it would be fantastic if we could get even more litter champions this year.
“The event shows how much residents care about where they live and wish to protect their beautiful unique environment.”
She added: “I hope those that throw litter can learn from our wonderful volunteers’ example to whom I am so grateful.”