The Great British Spring Clean is being launched in a week-long campaign from March 15 to collect litter from our streets and parks to help save the environment.

A call for volunteers to mark the 70th anniversary of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign comes after tonnes of litter had to be pulled from the Silk Stream in north London, between Barnet and Hendon, to reduce the risk of flooding in the area.

The Silk Stream feeds into the huge Welsh Harp reservoir at Neasden, which has been drained in a separate clean-up by the Rivers and Canals Trust.

Some 350,000 volunteers collected more than 400,000 bags of rubbish in last year’s big clean-up all over the country.

Some of that rubbish had been causing pollution for much of the seven decades that Keep Britain Tidy has been running.

“The pollution has to stop for the sake of all the places we call ‘home’,” the charity’s chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton warns.

“Collective efforts remove thousands of tonnes of litter every year which sends a message to those who thoughtlessly pollute the environment that littering is not socially acceptable.”

Leaders of the Women’s Institute recognised 70 years ago that the country was becoming bogged down in rubbish.

The problem “is still with is in 2024”, the organisation points out, fuelled by lifestyle changes and consumption-on-the-go with a “seemingly endless appetite” for drinks in cans and plastic bottles that make up 70 per cent of our litter.

“This could be tackle better with ‘return deposit’ schemes,” Allison points out. “We are waiting to see these being introduced as in other countries like Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Romania, Australia and the USA.

“Until this happens, we are asking the public to help remove as many bottles and cans as possible.”

The charity wants people to make a #PlatinumPledge to pick up litter from March 15 to 31.

Pledges can be made on its “” website.

The Great British Spring Clean, which has landed a £5 million windfall from the People’s Postcode Lottery, is backed by companies including Coca-Cola, KFC, Mars Wrigley, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pepsi and Walkers.