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Some people heading to Wale’s newly reopened McDonald’s drive-thrus have simply dumped their litter in car parks and beauty spots.

The fast-food giant reopened 16 outlets in south Wales this week for people driving to collect meals - but there were almost immediate reports of the company’s packaging being tossed out of car windows, left at picnic spots and even blowing on beaches.

People in Wales have said they can tell McDonalds has opened in their area just by the cardboard rubbish, straws and paper bags strewn along roads and verges.

There were huge queues of traffic at many of the drive-thrus which for two months have been shut to visitors.

Some people were so eager to consume their meals, they ate them in the Tesco car park in Spytty, Newport before discarding the rubbish on the floor and driving off.

Roger Fuller took this picture of the car park on Thursday.

The scene at the Tesco car park in Spytty, Newport on Thursday (Image: Roger Fuller)

While in Tircoed Forest, Melanie Smith and her two children were sickened to find empty boxes left under a picnic table. They were so disgusted, the family decided to do their own litter pick and clear up the mess.

There were similar scenes last week when KFC reopened their restaurants and rubbish littered an entire area in Swansea.

Aberystwyth Surfers Against Sewage spotted a Big Mac wrapper on the prom on the very first day McDonalds opened in the coastal town. They said: "The rise of litter begins again and it's only going to get worse. On the first day of McDonalds opening in Aberystwyth, litter from the fast food chain was found on the prom.

"Who do you blame? The individual, the council, McDonalds? Whoever is to blame, this is proof of a systematic failure of our society in which convenience and single use comes above our environment.

"As the UK's lockdown measures begin to ease, images have been circulating of beaches swamped with litter of discarded packaging, with those offenders seemingly forgetting they reason they visit these places is for their beauty and recreation. But a beach isn't a beach if it's covered with litter."

A McDonalds wrapper discarded on Aberystwyth Prom hours after the drive thru reopened (Image: Aberystwyth Surfers Against Sewage)
Left on the beach at Aberystwyth on Thursday (Image: Richard Steele)
Not a happy meal: locals were left disgusted by the McDonalds litter on Aberystwyth beach (Image: Richard Steele)

They added that it was sad to see the litter was likely to have come from locals and not tourists considering the current lockdown restrictions.

In Bridgend, which was one of the first McDonalds restaurants to open in the country, Charlotte Ironside, who lives just metres away from the drive-thru, said she was upset to come home to litter all over her garden.

Her message is simple. She just wants people not to park on the double yellow lines that lead on to her road. "I want to ask people not to eat their McDonalds, and then proceed to throw their rubbish out of the window," Charlotte said.

"I left work at the local hospital at 5pm and I got home, only to be greeted by cars parked down the street and litter on my front garden. After speaking to staff at McDonalds they are unable to do anything about parking and have strict rules about how far they can go in regards to litter. So it’s up to their decisions really.

"They can queue all they want to get in to McDonalds, and I guess I’ll just have to queue with them to get home, but please can they be considerate of residents that don’t want to have to pick up other people’s rubbish in the middle of a pandemic.

"This is something not only frustrating but very upsetting."

Long queues at McDonalds in Bridgend with some customers letting their litter blow into nearby residential gardens (Image: Richard Swingler)

Ahead of reopening in Bridgend, Paul Hayes, a spokesman for McDonalds, wrote to the council saying: "I also want to reassure you that we continue to take the issue of litter very seriously. Our restaurant teams have collected litter for more than 30 years, and we will continue to do so when we reopen our doors.

"Our restaurant teams will carry out at least three daily litter picks in the areas around our restaurants, collecting all litter, not just McDonald’s packaging."

Plaid Cymru believe the answer to the litter problem should be a requirement for fast food outlets to print number plates on all packaging.

The party is running an online petition calling for the government to do more, saying: "Fast food outlets reopened in Wales on Monday 2 June. Since then we have seen an increase in the litter dumped in our communities after visits to the drive-through.

"People should use the bins provided or take their litter home. Throwing it out of the car is not acceptable.

"We are calling on Welsh Government to make it compulsory for fast food outlets with drive through facilities to print car number plates on all packaging so that litter can be traced."

Read full article on Wales

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