A SENIOR councillor has called on Bournemouth residents to take personal responsibility for the town’s litter and become less dependent on the borough’s street cleaners.

Cabinet member Cllr Anne Filer told the Daily Echo that dwindling local authority finances have left the town hall stretched, meaning people will no longer be able rely on “the man from the council” to clear up all their mess.

She was speaking before videos emerged last week of litter being left strewn across the town's beaches during the first week of the summer holidays.

Glass bottles, inflatable swimming rings, plastic food packaging, disposable barbecues and even a pair of shoes were seen dumped in the sand with one marine conservationist referring to the beach as a 'giant ashtray'.

“All of us are going to have to learn – with money from the government decreasing – that if it is something we can deal with and are comfortable dealing with, we can’t always expect someone else to come and deal with it for us,” said Cllr Filer.

“If everyone went outside their house with a broom every morning – like they do in Belgium and Holland – then the bit outside your house will always look nice.

“It’s your town, it’s your patch and if it bothers you – and it doesn’t bother everybody – do something about it.”

Cllr Filer cited the work undertaken by volunteer groups such as Dorset Devils, which organises regular litter picks around the town.

She added, however, that she is referring only to litter on residential roads and would not expect people to remove hazardous waste that might compromise their safety.

“I think the days of phoning up the council and saying, ‘there’s a cigarette packet and a couple of beer cans outside my house so come and clear it’, are gone,” she said.

Challenged that residents may resent this view in light of recent council tax increases, Cllr Filer said the authority still has less money than it has done in recent years as a result of the “horrendous” cuts to the local government grant, as well as rising demands for services such as adult and children's social care.

“We are stretching limited resources to prioritise, and to make sure the place is still a pleasant place to be – so we need the public’s help,” Cllr Filer added.

Last month a town centre businessmen cited litter problems, along with homelessness, as an issue that is driving away trade.

And last year the council outsourced private firm 3GS to issue fines to those dropping rubbish.