A shocking image shows the iconic White Cliffs of Dover covered in rubbish and unsightly litter.
Discarded picnics, carrier bags and other rubbish strewn along the cliff top ruin what is a scenic and popular tourist spot in Kent.
Fortunately, the image is wrong.
It was simulated as part of a campaign to highlight the rise of fly tipping.
It comes as data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs shows fly-tipping has increased by 16% over the past year – with just under two-thirds of incidents involving household waste.
In addition, around 500,000 litter ends up in the sea from UK rivers each year, according to the Canal and River Trust, while footpaths and bridleways see almost 200,000 fly dumping incidents each year.
According to the most recent data from the UK Government, the most important litter was small pieces of plastic and polystyrene (215 items per 100m), followed by cigarette butts (46 per 100m) and food packets (39 per 100 m) in third position.
London recorded the highest number of fly-spilling incidents in 2020/21: 43 per 1,000 population.
It was followed by the North East (31) and the North West (19), two areas that have four National Parks and 12 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty between them.
Waste dumped in cities and countryside is blown up and washed away in rivers and sewers, eventually ending up in the ocean.
Other waste goes straight down the drain, along with wet wipes, cotton swabs and sanitary products all polluting our seas.
Plastic in the ocean is a huge problem – and around 80% of it comes from land.
Any plastic landfilled can easily be blown away and end up in rivers or directly in the sea.
In response, new images have been released showing the impact fly tipping and litter can have on the country’s most beloved walking paths, waterways and coastal areas.
In addition to the Cliffs of Dover, images were simulated of the West Highland Way and the historic Leeds Canal.
The public can reduce the amount of harmful substances in nature by replacing plastics with reusable items, quitting smoking, or buying products with recyclable or biodegradable packaging.
The campaign is led by the smoking cessation society, Vape Club.
Dan Marchant, Managing Director of the company, said: “We in the UK are incredibly lucky to have so many beautiful and varied landscapes.
“But it is clear that we need to do much more to preserve them.
“When we visit these places, we must be aware of our impact on nature and ensure that we leave no trace.
“We know that many smokers will drop a cigarette butt on the ground, crush it and walk away, making cigarettes one of the most common forms of litter.”
The District of Dover recently received nearly £40,000 to help tackle fly tipping.
The grant for Dover District Council (DDC) is part of the government’s decision to counter an increase in dumping since the start of the pandemic.
DDC plans to expand its CCTV resources and invest in new equipment to help collect evidence to further support the prosecution of offenders.
Cllr Martin Bates, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, said: ‘We continue to work hard to address fly tipping in the district and to prosecute violations.
MP for Dover and Deal Natalie Elphicke added: ‘Although many people are very good at hauling their waste home, others are not and it is an eyesore on too many of our local roads and of our wooded areas.
“Talking to our local farmers, they have noticed an increase in fly tipping.
“There’s also always a big clean-up to do after any serious traffic disruption.”