DEDICATED volunteers from Torfaen collected more than 90 bags of rubbish from just two lay-bys on the A4042 after being confronted by "a sea of litter".

The Torfaen Litter Champions had been alerted to the state of the lay-bys by member of the public Jess Flag.

“A couple of weeks ago, I was driving back from Newport, and I pulled over in the lay-by as it looked bit dirty," she said.

"I picked up some of the litter and looked over the embankment. There were bottles of urine, bags of excrement and all sorts that had been left there.

"It was a sea of litter. You couldn’t see the ground. It was pretty shocking.


"I decided to make a start on it. I got about 10 bags in but couldn’t clear it all by myself, so I contacted Ron Ford to see if he and his team could give me a hand.

"Ron and about six volunteers cleared the northbound lay-by, while myself and about three volunteers cleared the southbound one.

"There was anything and everything there."

Among the 93 bags of litter were washing machine parts, truck and car tyres, pallets, a car seat, a TV, and bottles of urine and bags of excrement.


South Wales Argus:


(Volunteers Tony Reynolds, Jennie Simons, Lesley Mooney, Rosie Seabourne and Ron Ford with some of the rubbish collected from the A4042 lay-by. Picture: Ron Ford.)

"These embankments should be buffers for the wildlife, but with littering like this, the wildlife does not have a chance," said Mrs Flag.

"There were bottles of alcohol down there, that’s the scariest thing. We are talking about empty bottles of vodka, whiskey and beer.

"Even if this is people stopping overnight and drinking, and then driving off the next morning, it’s frightening to think about.

"It’s a problem right through the Valleys. We do quite a lot of clean ups at The British. The scary thing is what it is doing to would-be tourism.

"As a family, we just can’t go out in the Valleys now as it is just spoiled by things like this. You might

find other people going elsewhere too."


South Wales Argus:


(Rubbish on the embankment behind the lay-by on the A4042. Picture: Jess Flag)

Mrs Flag said it would be difficult to stop people from fly-tipping, as you would need to change people's mindsets.

"Mentalities have to change," she said. "That is the problem you have to address.

"You need to be able to barrier off open spaces, like at areas of The British, so people can’t drive on them and fly-tip.

"You also need to make sure people are reporting it if they see it. You don’t have to necessarily confront them, but even by taking down their number plate that could make a difference.

"Monmouthshire are really good, as they provide signs which say something along the lines of ‘This area has been cleared by volunteers, please don’t litter.’

"It may prod the consciences of some of the people littering if they know its not the council that is cleaning up after them.

South Wales Argus:

(Some of the rubbish collected by volunteers from the A4042 lay-by. Picture: Ron Ford.)

"It's also important not to label all people the same. Although some of this mess would have been from lorry drivers stopping overnight in the lay-by, it doesn't mean that all lorry drivers litter.

"There are groups like Truckers Cleaning Up Britain who do great work litter picking in lay-bys when they have stopped for the night or on their scheduled breaks."

The rubbish has now all been removed by Torfaen Streetscene.

Ron Ford, of the Torfaen Litter Champions, said: "Since we set this team up Torfaen Litter Champions on July 28, 2018, we have removed 1,567 bags of litter and lorry-loads of fly-tipping.

"I'm certainly optimistic of seeing the litter and fly-tipping decreasing."

If you come across any fly-tipped waste, you can report it to Torfaen Council on 01495 762200 or online.