Sea of 500 beer cans litter the floor in pictures taken by volunteers who have collected 7,000 bags this year

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More than 500 empty beer cans were picked up in a single day by volunteers who have bagged 7,000 sacks full of litter so far this year.

The sea of discarded cans carpets the ground in photographs taken by Rebwar Sharzwre, 36, who has made it his mission to eradicate the problem in Leeds. On Saturday (May 13), he spent the day in a familiar way – with a team of volunteers from Kurdish House picking up 500 cans that had been dumped in Hunslet Moor Park.

His organisation, based in Beeston, was established in 2018 and aims to bring communities together while keeping the city clean and safe. It has a focus on steering young people away from negative influences, including drugs and crime.

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Rebwar Sharzwre, 36, the group’s founder, said: “When I saw all the litter, I just thought: this is not right. I decided to take pictures of it because the people responsible should be ashamed of themselves. It's our duty to protect this planet, it's our home.”

The operation in Hunslet Moor saw more than 500 beer cans collected in one day.The operation in Hunslet Moor saw more than 500 beer cans collected in one day.
The operation in Hunslet Moor saw more than 500 beer cans collected in one day.

"It’s not the first time we’ve seen it, either. We’ve picked up 900 cans in the same area before. We also see a lot of needles. There's a bridge in Hunslet near the park where I could show you as many as 300 needles, but I didn't have the special equipment to pick them up.”

Rebwar, who moved to Leeds from Kurdistan 20 years ago, was clear about the solution to the litter problem that plagues cities across the world.

“The only way to solve it is by educating people,” he said. “Otherwise, they will throw their rubbish in the street and the city council will have to carry on spending millions cleaning it up. That money could be spent on building hospitals or schools.

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"In Japan, schools spend 20 minutes a day learning about the environment and how to look after it. And in Germany, you can get money back for recycling empty bottles.”

More than 100 students attend Kurdish House’s weekly Saturday school, which is run by 33 unpaid volunteers. The organisation wants to find a permanent home for it to run its activities and is hoping for the council’s help in securing a base.