Little litter superhero
Parker, aged 4, dresses as The Flash for his own clean-up crusade
SUPERMAN can fly. Spider-Man shoots webs from his wrists. But this four-year-old has the power to make litter disappear.
Parker Lawrie has spent hundreds of hours clearing his neighbourhood after learning about how discarded plastic can harm wildlife.
Accompanied by his mother Chelsea Walla, he devotes five hours a week to his task – while dressing as his favourite superhero, The Flash.
The reception pupil has even roped in friends and neighbours to join him on clean-ups in streets and parks near his home in Walsall, West Midlands.
Miss Walla, 30, said: ‘ He gets a huge sense of pride when he picks up litter. I said to him “you’re a real hero”, and he just started wearing his Flash costume because he wants to do his best to save the animals.
‘When he sees how much rubbish he’s collected, it makes him so happy. He’ll go out in all weathers.’
Showing the same public spirit as Parker, more than half a million volunteers have signed up for the Great British Spring Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy and backed by the Daily Mail. In total, 529,454 people have pledged to join the campaign, which runs until April 23.
Miss Walla said: ‘ We’re really pleased to get behind the Great British Spring Clean and support the drive to clean up our towns and countryside.
‘ Parker won’t rest until he’s cleaned up the whole country.’
Miss Walla, a dog-walker who lives with Parker’s father, electrician Jamie Lawrie, also 30, said her son first started collecting litter for recycling after learning about the issue at school. The mother-of-one said: ‘I picked Parker up one day and he seemed a bit reserved. I asked him what was up and he said he’d learnt about litter and what it did to animals.
‘He said that birds died from eating plastic and as we were walking back there was a lot of litter on the street and he started trying to pick it up.
‘When we got home the first thing we did was to order a litter-picking stick, it arrived a few days later and we went straight out. He likes how Flash is fast ... he likes the idea of being able to whizz round and pick stuff up in the blink of an eye.’ In addition to backing the Spring Clean, the Mail has highlighted how plastic bottles, balloons and straws pose an ongoing danger to wildlife with its Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign.
Animals can be trapped or cut by cans or bottles, or choked by plastic bags or elastic bands.
In February, the RSPCA warned that the number of animals killed or injured by plastic litter had hit an all-time high.
It was called out to 579 incidents involving plastic rubbish last year – up from 473 in 2015.
Fearless: Parker picks up can while dressed as The Flash, left, and with mother Chelsea, above
What a haul: Parker poses with filled bags after a hard day’s work