RSPCA North Wilts is just one of the organisations backing Swindon Climate Action Network this month, in their Plastic Free Swindon campaign.
Plastic and other waste products pose a very real threat to wildlife, birds and other animals, creating a serious issue for local animal charities like RSPCA North Wiltshire.
Nationally, the RSPCA receives more than 5,000 calls a year about animals affected by litter. Spokesperson for Swindon’s local branch Katie North tells us “We are thrilled to get behind SCAN to raise awareness on this really important issue. I don’t think many people realise just how big the problem of littering is in terms of the threat it causes to wildlife and other animals”.
Everyday objects that may seem perfectly safe, if found accidentally by animals can be very hazardous when not disposed of correctly. Plastic waste like carrier bags and plastic can holders can be extremely harmful with animals getting tangled or stuck inside them, causing extreme distress and sometimes suffocation. Animals can also get cut on or ingest bits of littered plastic causing them to choke or be seriously injured.
RSPCA North Wilts advise in the case of finding an injured wild animal, to firstly observe how badly it is hurt and then, if it’s safe to catch and handle, to take it to a nearby vet or wildlife centre. It’s advisable to wear gloves when handling unknown animals and to transport them in a cardboard box with ventilation holes. If the animal is trapped or you are unable to transport it yourself, get in contact with your local animal rescue service.
In 2017 the RSPCA responded to hundreds of calls about injured wildlife, with a significant number of these cases involving litter. Katie highlights “What’s even more tragic than the animals that are treated for litter related injuries is the number of injured wildlife that get seriously hurt and are never found”.
By taking steps to reduce our plastic waste, and by disposing our rubbish responsibly instead of littering we are making choices that could literally be lifesaving. To clean up the environment and save animals today, we urge you to get involved with Plastic Free Swindon. By making just a small effort in your local area you can really help reduce the risk to local animals and help raise awareness of Swindon Climate Action Network’s important work.
RSPCA North Wiltshire is one of 172 branches across England & Wales who work alongside the national organisation and its inspectorate to care for sick, injured and neglected animals. As a self funding, separately registered charity, all the money raised by the branch is spent locally on helping animals in need within the North Wilts area. For more info and up to date news on your local branch or to find out how you can lend your support through donations or volunteering, please visit www.rspcanorthwilts.org.uk or like them on Facebook.