Keep Britain Tidy makes plea to entertainment industry to ban sky lanterns and disposable BBQs

Sky Lantern

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has urged television producers and scriptwriters to think “more carefully” about their representation of litter and pollution issues after ITVs’ Doc Martin featured a sky lantern release as its finale.

Keep Britain Tidy says that thousands of sky lanterns are released in the UK and often cause “catastrophic damage” to wildlife and habitat, and end up as litter.

In 2022, the charity launched the #BanTheFlamingThing campaign in response to what it calls the “careless use” of sky lanterns and disposable BBQs.

Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “Damage to farms and property by sky lanterns is well documented as is harm to animals. These floating flames are highly dangerous.

Those who think litter is someone else’s problem are wrong; it isn’t – it’s everyone’s problem.

“We need to stop this very dangerous form of littering and want to see the sale of sky lanterns banned.

“While we continue to call on government to take action, in the meantime, we want to see script writers and TV producers step up and think carefully about their representation of issues affecting the environment.

Ogden-Newton says that portraying the release of sky lanterns or showing characters dropping cigarette butts on the ground, TV is normalising behaviours that do “untold damage” to the environment and pose a significant risk.

“Keep Britain Tidy has been campaigning against littering for generations. Those who think litter is someone else’s problem are wrong; it isn’t – it’s everyone’s problem.”

Keep Britain Tidy says it has worked with the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales to launch a petition to ask the UK Government to ban sky lanterns. Currently, it has more than 96,000 signatures.

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