In Ross-on-Wye, many residents are concerned about the amount of single use plastics used, and the amount of litter.

Groups like WyeUp and the Ross Community Clean Up Crew devote their time to tackling such issues, as do many local residents.

Despite this reflecting the campaigning that is taking place all over the UK, the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents in the West Midlands increasing by 28% in four years, according to new RSPCA data.

The animal welfare charity has recorded a rise in incidents affecting animals involving plastic litter in England and Wales from 473 in 2015 to 579 in 2018, bucking a downward trend for all types of litter (from 4968 in 2015 to 4579 in 2018).

The West Midlands saw 60 plastic litter incidents affecting animals in 2015, which rose to 77 in 2018.

The charity’s latest data also reveals that there are certain animals - especially those that live in water habitats - which are being affected disproportionately by plastic.

For example, there has been a fourfold rise in seals affected by incidents involving plastic litter with 28 recorded across England and Wales in 2018 compared to just five in 2015.

Plastic litter is also a particular problem for certain water birds, with incidents involving geese rising from 37 to 70 and swans rising from 40 to 48 across England and Wales during that same four-year period.

RSPCA Head of Wildlife, Adam Grogan said: “This shocking rise in plastic litter incidents suggests that plastic is a growing threat to animals.

“Every year, the RSPCA deals with increasing numbers of mammals, birds and reptiles that have become entangled or affected in some way by discarded plastic.

“From seals with deep infected wounds caused by plastic frisbees cutting into their necks, to swans and geese trapped in fishing line or netting, plastic is clearly having an increasing impact on animal welfare.

“Our latest data sadly reflects the wider litter crisis taking place right now across the globe and action is urgently needed. It’s up to every one of us to do our bit in the war against litter.”

In the West Midlands, incidents where animals have been affected by general litter have decreased. However, animals affected by plastic-related litter incidents have continually increased.

In Herefordshire, the year 2015 saw 13 animals affected, with two being affected in 2016, three affected in 2017, and four affected in 2018.

Four of these incidents were directly related to problem plastics in the environment.

The data that the RSPCA has also revealed that across all species, of the 4579 incidents in 2018 which involved any types of litter, 3228 were from angling litter and 1,351 general litter

In addition to this, across all species, of the 579 incidents in 2018 involving just plastic litter, 29 were litter from angling and 550 were from general litter.

The number of seals affected by any type of litter almost doubled from 55 in 2015 to 109 in 2018 (with plastic litter incidents rising from five to 28 across the same period)

You can do your bit to help protect animals by taking litter home and disposing of it responsibly, and by joining the Great British Spring Clean from Keep Britain Tidy which the RSPCA is supporting.