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Under new government plans unveiled today (see ...
Under new government plans unveiled today (see LGCnetfor full details), big burger bars, chicken chains and pizza joints are being encouraged to do far more to keep it clean. And with figures released this morning showing that fast food rubbish is on the rise - campaigners Keep Britain Tidy believe the crack-down couldn't have come at a better time.

'Our survey shows that while other litter is disappearing from our streets, fast food rubbish just keeps on growing,' said Alan Woods, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy.

'What's more, we're finding burger cartons, pizza boxes and plastic cups away from the high street, on our roads and dumped in the countryside. Much of that rubbish has to have come from drive-throughs and its time they, rather than the British taxpayer, forked out something to clean it up.'

According to the Keep Britain Tidy study, fast food packaging found on our streets has grown by 12% since last year, with snack wrappers rising by 11%. Bits of pizza, half eaten burgers and other dumped food also increased by 7% - helping to swell Britain's fat rat population still further. Meanwhile builder's rubbish, household trash and dog fouling has dipped.

Junk fast food was found 18% more on main roads than last year and on 14% more rural roads. There was also an 11% rise in rubbish found in out of town areas.

Amongst proposals outlined by local environmental quality minister, Alun Michael, fast food joints would have to keep the area around their shop ship-shape - and work with the council to make sure other spots blighted by their mess are cleaned-up once a week. From hot dog stands to chip shops, retailers will also be asked to provide bins for their punters to use and publicise the anti-litter message on posters. Restaurants will also be encouraged to put out their trash on the right night, so that ba gs of rubbish don't get gnawed by vermin.

While take aways are being asked to agree to the proposals voluntarily - if they don't play ball, the government could look at legislation to close them down. Keep Britain Tidy is also trying to make the law easier so that councils can throw the book at filthy fast food joints.

'Around 74% of fast food outlets reckon they regularly pick up rubbish outside their shop' continued Mr Woods, 'and yet 97% of our streets are strewn with litter. While it is their lazy customers who must bare the brunt of the blame, take-aways have got to do much better.

'The British public thinks fast food filth is messy, difficult to clean up and downright offensive, so if nothing else it's in the interests of owners to keep it clean. I mean who wants to buy food from a trashy take-away?'

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