Driffield News

Facemasks and dog mess continue to be biggest problem for Friends of the Beck

After the Wolds Weekly reported how children making their way to Driffield Northfield Infant School are being forced to spend most of their walk to school avoiding dog poo, volunteers of a Driffield conservation group have highlighted some of the horrors they face on regular litter picks around the Capital of the Wolds.

Since it was founded by Darren Baker in November 2017, the Friends of the Beck (Driffield) has worked tirelessly to not only clear one of the town’s waterways, but also collect thousands of bags of rubbish in and around Driffield.

From beer bottles and sweet wrappers to shopping trolleys, the volunteers have seen everything over the last five years.

It seems to be getting out of hand. Recently on a walk around Duncombe Drive, the dog mess I came across was the worst I have ever seen, just really, really bad.

DAVE SMART

But the biggest problem remains dog owners who either refuse to pick up after their pets or, more frustratingly, make the effort to put the dog poo into a bag, yet then decide to leave it on the pavement.

Over the last two years, second only to dog poo are face masks, with people deciding to discard the clinical waste rather than finding a litter bin.

Dave Smart, of the Friends of the Beck (Driffield), believes that with more people in Driffield owning dogs, the issues with dog poo are not going away.

“It was Darren’s idea to set up the group and do something to help the community,” said Dave.

“He already had a good relationship with the Tidy Team and he wanted to compliment them as a group of volunteers.

“It flourished and we’ve encouraged other people to get involved and have been able to source equipment and distribute it to other villages.

“We want to encourage people to do something good for the town.

“Over the last few months, we’ve noticed more and more dog mess on the streets, as well as discarded face masks.

Friends of Driffield Beck

“Whilst we understand and appreciate that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible and caring, there are others that aren’t.

“I’ve had to be called out to see Darren twice on an evening because the wheels of his chair had dog mess on them.

“It’s happened to him unwittingly and I’ve had to go into Darren’s garden at 11pm and scrub them.

“It’s not acceptable and there are also other wheelchair users and those with pushchairs that have the same problem.

“It seems to be getting out of hand. Recently on a walk around Duncombe Drive, the dog mess I came across was the worst I have ever seen, just really, really bad.”

John Hearson litter picks every Tuesday with his wife Carol, often in the Cemetery Lane area, where they have seen at first-hand what parents walking their children to Northfield School have to deal with.

Since the start of the pandemic, the couple have ‘competed’ to see who can pick up the most face masks on their litter picking round.

However, with all COVID restrictions now lifted, John and Carol may have fewer masks to collect, with the focus turning to the high number of discarded beer bottles around the town.

“The most face masks we have picked up in one two-hour litter pick is 32 and recently we picked up seven apiece,” said John.

“We have a competition to see who can pick up the most, which just shows how many are around.

“We were finding more earlier in the pandemic and it often seems to be the disposable ones which people have just discarded after wearing them, especially near the doctor’s surgery.

“In many cases, I’m sure it is accidental and the masks have simply dropped out of their pockets or car doors.

“Going back to dog poo, we often find it already in a bag, which doesn’t seem logical to me.

“They’ve already done the difficult part and it’s probably worse than not picking it up at all.

“Beer bottles, particularly Budweiser ones, are a problem. I can guarantee that along Providence Place, near the abandoned garages, that these bottles will have been thrown against the wall.

“Not only is it dangerous for us picking them up, but also for dogs walking through it.

“Darren’s dog, Red, has suffered cuts to his paws on several occasions. We can be 10 minutes in that area picking up glass.”

As well as collecting litter, the Friends of the Beck continue to work on a project in North End Park, which will see an area close to Laundry Lane turned into a disability-friendly sensory area.

The project is close to reaching completion, with a possible grand opening later in the year.

Dave added that none of the sterling work by the Friends of the Beck would be possible without the help of the Tidy Team and Driffield Town Council.

“We work well with the Tidy Team,” said Dave. “Everyone says that councils should be collecting litter but I don’t agree with that, ours does more than enough across the town.

“From emptying bins to providing free dog poo bags, they do a tremendous job and really help us.”

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