Grim picture of litter-strewn UK

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The Independent Online

Smelly public lavatories and playgrounds littered with dog excrement and broken glass continue to blight England's city streets and open spaces, according to a survey published today.

Smelly public lavatories and playgrounds littered with dog excrement and broken glass continue to blight England's city streets and open spaces, according to a survey published today.

The study, by Encams, the environmental charity behind the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, paints a grim picture of urine-stained, gum-littered streets where overflowing bins and weeds make pavements dangerous for pedestrians.

The study also found that dog mess and broken glass could be found in playgrounds; pavements were covered with chewing gum and elastic bands dumped by postal workers, while landscaping was neglected and street lamps and signs needed new paint.

The odour problem outside public toilets was greatest in the West Midlands and southeast and north-east England, while London's biggest problem was the pavement grime outside toilets and stations.

Yorkshire and Humberside had a problem with litter while the North-west needs to improve the areas outside its train and bus stations.

Alan Woods, Encams' chief executive, said: "Given some common sense and better planning, a lot of these difficulties could be overcome."

The charity wants councils to reconsider their clean-up policies. With many roads blocked by parked cars, Encams believes that councils are wasting time by deploying street sweepers at busy times armed with just litter pickers.

The Government has now created a new performance indicator based on the survey to enable people to judge how effectively their local authority is cleaning their area.

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