Hyde Park Leeds trending on Twitter as crowds leave rubbish on Woodhouse Moor

‘We are a very proactive group of young adults, but we shoot ourselves in the foot by leaving so much mess’

Hyde Park Leeds was trending on Twitter after images circulated of the mess left in the park after students gathered to enjoy the sunshine yesterday.

With the rule of six outdoors implemented the previous day, the park was full of people. Being the main green space within walking distance of the universities and city centre, large numbers of students and residents flocked to the park. Their departure revealed pockets of mess scattered across Woodhouse Moor.

Hyde Park Leeds was trending on Twitter as people across the nation condemned students for gathering.

Luce Kelly, a key worker and recent graduate living in Leeds, said: “It was so bittersweet to see so many people so happy and remember that we’re still going through a global pandemic. I’m gutted because we are a very proactive group of young adults and then we go and shoot ourselves in the foot by leaving so much mess on the park.”

As well as gathering in large crowds amidst the pandemic, students were also criticised for the heaps of rubbish left behind throughout Woodhouse Moor.

Rubbish left by gatherers spreading out across the park

Rubbish left by gatherers spreading out across the park

The morning after the crowds, lorries “filled to the brim” were seen collecting rubbish from the park. Workers, students, and residents were tirelessly cleaning up the mess at the scene from early hours this morning. One even stated: “Nobody’s job should be to clean this.”

Hennie, a third year criminal psychology student cleaning up the park this morning, stated: “If everyone had just come today with a bag it would’ve been sorted in about ten seconds.”

“The reason I’m cleaning is because I don’t want to get kicked out of somewhere else because we can’t even go anywhere else.”

The park is vital to local wellbeing as most students and residents living in the area don’t have proper garden spaces, and unless you own a car, this is the most accessible green space on foot.

Truck loaded with heaps of rubbish bags

Piles of rubbish bags heaped together after park clean up

The pictures of the rubbish are admittedly shocking and have been addressed by students. The popular Leeds Students Group on Facebook (LSG) saw posts graining over 1k likes calling out groups who’d left the rubbish behind, challenging the idea that students are indeed unbothered by the mess they have contributed to.

LSG calling out people for leaving the mess around Woodhouse Moor

Whilst holding individuals to account is necessary, the persistent blame on students particularly for the mess has been seen as unfair by some.

Choosing to remain anonymous, a 2nd year LLB Law student working as a delivery driver offered a different perspective on the events at the park yesterday:

“I’m local to Leeds so I find it easier to spot other locals, I saw hundreds of cars lining the streets nearby and gangs of older men. Those who were students left the park once the sun started to fade, the vast majority of them did take their rubbish away are environmentally conscious. Students are always scapegoated for this because it’s a ‘student area’ – we saw the same thing happen last summer too.”

Bin bags lined up after cleaning the park

Regardless of whose fault you believe the rubbish to be, if you are attending the park in any weather conditions, you are obliged to take your own rubbish with you to put an end to littering and help improve the environment.

Whether you are a resident or student, our communal spaces do not deserve to be polluted. By all means, legally go to the park in groups of six or more (as long as it’s only two households) and have a picnic – just take your rubbish with you or bring a bin bag if necessary. Keep Woodhouse Moor clean.

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