Thousands of volunteers in the North West are grabbing their litter-pickers today as the country’s biggest mass-action environmental campaign – the Great British Spring Clean – begins.

Now in its ninth year, the annual nationwide litter-picking campaign is run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, supported by thousands of individuals, families, schools, local authorities, community groups, and businesses who care for the environment on their doorsteps.

Last year, people up and down the country came together to clean up more than 400 bags of litter from streets, parks, beaches, and other public spaces, and this year, as Keep Britain Tidy marks its 70th anniversary, the charity is hoping to beat that total.

Litter Heroes across the country are being encouraged to make a pledge on Keep Britain Tidy’s website and to pick up a bag – or more – of rubbish during the campaign, which runs from Friday, March 15, to Sunday 31.

To mark the occasion, Keep Britain Tidy hosted a pop-up litter museum in the Houses of Parliament, using exhibits loaned from the Vintage Litter Museum in Suffolk, to raise awareness of the permanence of litter drop by people decades ago.

The earliest plastic piece in the museum is a small plastic bottle from the Revlon Aquamarine range from 1954 - the same year Keep Britain Tidy was born after a resolution was passed by the Women's Institute, inaugurating a campaign "to preserve against desecration by litter of all kinds".

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, said: “We’re celebrating 70 years of taking action for the environment and it’s our belief that the environment belongs to everyone. 

“The Great British Spring Clean is the perfect time to shout about everything we’ve achieved together in the past seven decades and say a big thank you to the volunteers, staff and supporters who have made it possible. 

 “However, you choose to mark our 70th anniversary this Great British Spring Clean, your efforts will make a huge difference to the environment on your doorstep.

 “The tireless work of our staff and volunteers has brought us a long way since 1954 - but now the planet needs us like never before as millions of tonnes of new and historic litter makes its way from the land into our waterways and oceans each year, causing catastrophic damage to our wildlife and natural habitats.”

Sean Latus, chief executive of the campaign's headline partner Calisen, which owns, installs and manages essential energy infrastructure, said: “It’s inspiring to see volunteers taking action at grassroots level to make our communities cleaner and greener.”