A new campaign urges those who love walking and exploring the countryside to clear the rubbish they see on their regular walks.

The Litter Heroes Campaign, launched between Keep Britain Tidy, The Outdoor Guide, TV presenter Julia Bradbury, BBC Countryfile Magazine and the RSPCA, is providing a special litter picking bag to those that sign up.

Litter is a growing problem in our towns, cities and countryside. Wild coasts and beautiful landscapes are often blighted by thoughtlessly discarded plastic bottles, cans, dog-poo bags and even piles of fly-tipping.

Litter, especially plastic, is a menace to wildlife and our own health. Almost 1.3 Million pieces of rubbish are dropped on UK roads every weekend and a third of motorists admit to littering while driving. Black bags full of household rubbish account for 63 per cent of all fly-tipping and around 122 tons of cigarette butts and cigarette-related litter is dropped every day across the UK.

The RSPCA also reports 7,000 incidents every year of animals becoming ill through eating or becoming trapped in bits of plastic.

Campaign to Protect Rural England have also stated that areas degraded by rubbish become less visited and footpaths become neglected which can lead to the land being bought for development.

Many beaches are strewn with rubbish either jettisoned from boats or flushed into the sea through the sewer system. Turtles, fish and seabird chicks have been found suffocated with microplastic, and some seabird nests – especially those of gannets – are increasingly constructed from dangerous man-made waste rather than natural materials. It’s reported that an average of 744 items of litter are found per 100 metres of beach

Allison Ogden–Newton, CEO of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Any litter dropped in a place of natural beauty is a problem – it shines like a beacon as something unnatural, and begs the question ‘Who is going to pick it up?’

"That’s why we are delighted that The Outdoor Guide is reaching out to its networks and offering handy bags, so people can collect litter when they're out walking in remote locations.”

TV presenter Julia Bradbury added: “The Outdoor Guide bags are lightweight and washable, just keep them in your rucksack, so no matter where you walk you can become a litter hero!

"It is up to us all to make a change in our lives, and by keeping our footpaths clean and litter-free everyone can do their bit without having to make big changes.”

Tips for a safe litter-picking adventure

• Don’t pick up needles.

• Use strong gloves and/or a litter grabber.

• Apply sun cream before you start

• If picking on a beach, remember the tides – never endanger yourself.

• Large pieces of litter can become waterlogged and surprisingly heavy. Be careful lifting pieces of metal etc

How long does litter take to breakdown?

• Orange peel up to two years

• Cigarette butts up to two years

• Plastic bags 10–20 years

• Tin cans 50 years

• Aluminium cans 80–100 years

• Plastic bottles can last forever

• Glass does not degrade