published on 27 September 2021 in energy

How much litter is found in Italian urban parks?

Cigarette butts and disposable products and packaging are at the top of the list of litter found abandoned in urban parks by Legambiente’s Park Litter survey. To be precise, cigarette butts account for 27% of the litter collected, followed by paper fragments (23% of the total), unidentifiable pieces of plastic (6.6%), building materials such as tiles, bricks (6.3%), glass bottles and pieces of bottles (4%), bottle caps or pull-tabs from cans (4%). To compile this new report, Legambiente catalogued 32,937 items of litter collected along 53 sample strips in 48 urban parks in 27 cities (Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Catanzaro, Chieti, Cinisello Balsamo, Genoa, Gorizia, Latisana, Milan, Naples, Perugia, Pescara, Piazza Armerina, Pineto, Pisa, Pordenone, Rome, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Rovigo, Ruoti, San Colombano al Lambro, Terralba, Turin, Trieste and Udine). This is equivalent to an average of 6 pieces of litter per square metre monitored. Litter bins are provided in 46 of the 53 strips monitored: “in only 30% of cases are the bins equipped for sorting of litter according to materials.”  The data obtained from this survey show us that the problem of litter is still relevant and needs to be tackled by continuing to promote information and awareness campaigns and active citizenship initiatives such as Clean up the World Day, this year at its 29th edition.

The survey also looked into the issue of litter bins, present in 46 of the 53 sample strips monitored. It was found that only 30% of the strips are equipped with bins for separate litter collection and that only 18 out of 53 transects (39%) have a lid to prevent the dispersion of material. It is worth noting that one of the main causes of dispersion of litter in the environment is wind.

In addition, the presence of manholes and drains was detected in 37 of the 53 sample strips monitored (70%). This parameter is taken into account because, as explained, “studies worldwide have established that one of the main vectors of litter in the marine environment are canals and waterways, which are often connected to the urban sewage system, and the main source of litter is the mismanagement of urban waste.” In 47% of the sample strips (25 out of 53), areas of accumulation were noted, mostly under or near benches.

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