Beachgoers have left behind more than 30 tonnes of rubbish and ignored public health advice on coronavirus as authorities declared a “major incident” over what they called irresponsible crowd behaviour.
The declaration came after visitors arrived at Bournemouth’s beach in southern England on Wednesday in very large numbers during a spell of hot weather, resulting in gridlock on the roads, illegal overnight camping, excessive waste, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled fights.
Roads were obstructed by illegal parking, crews were abused as they attempted to empty overflowing bins and 33 tonnes of waste had to be removed from the stretch of coastline in and around the town on Thursday morning.
‘Pollution hell on earth’
Photos of the mess were shared on Twitter with people furious.
“We are creating a pandemic and pollution hell on earth,” one man tweeted.
He also claims people “even defecated in burger boxes” and left them on the beach.
“If you were in Bournemouth beach today, be ashamed, very ashamed,” another man tweeted.
“We are still in lockdown! And why is it so difficult to take your rubbish away with you?! No respect or consideration at all.”
Bournemouth resident Alex Rimell told The Evening Standard he went down to the beach on Thursday morning to take photos of the sunrise but was met with piles of garbage.
He grabbed rubber gloves and a bag to clean the beach.
“One simple thing is to take your rubbish home if the bin there is full,” he told The Evening Standard.
“It’s so sad that people don’t appreciate the beauty that surrounds them.”
‘Stretched to the absolute hilt’
Council Leader Vikki Slade said in a statement on Thursday people who went to the beach showed “irresponsible behaviour” and council is “absolutely appalled”.
"The irresponsible behaviour and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe,” she said.
Social distancing measures have been in place in Britain since March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, although the rules are due to be significantly relaxed from July 4.
With pubs still closed, many people have been heading to parks and beaches to meet friends and drink alcohol, in some cases ignoring advice to keep two metres apart.
Britain's official death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose by 149 to 43,230, the Department of Health said on Thursday.
Including deaths from suspected cases of the disease, the death toll is more than 54,000.
Major health bodies have warned a second wave of COVID-19 in the UK is a real possibility.
Britain has one of the world's highest death tolls from COVID-19 but new infections have fallen. The government plans to lift many restrictions in England from July 4 to help an economy facing the deepest contraction in three centuries.
With fears of renewed spikes of infections concerning leaders around the world, some of Britain's most eminent health leaders want urgent preparations for such a possible scenario.
"The available evidence indicates that local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk," the medics said in a letter in the British Medical Journal.
It was signed by 15 of the most eminent health professional groups and trade unions including the heads of the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the British Medical Association.
with Reuters and AAP
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