River Wye - Litter Clear Up Completed!
A twelve-week initiative to clear litter from the upper River Wye has been successfully completed.
The Wye and Usk Foundation report that:
‘From the start of February, groups of volunteers, organised by the Wye & Usk Foundation (WUF) with support from Keep Wales Tidy (KWT) and the River Wye Preservation Trust (RWPT), have been removing litter from the river’s source at Plynlimon downstream to Builth Wells and beyond, including the tributary streams. In addition to the practical benefits of removing the litter, The Big Upper Wye Litter Clear Up also draws attention to the amount of rubbish and other pollutants being allowed to enter the highly protected river Wye.
116 volunteers were involved in the project, including anglers, canoeists, wildlife enthusiasts, walkers and others with an interest in the Wye. 596 sacks of litter and larger items were removed from 103 miles of river and stream, including objects such as a car radiator, a lawnmower and a deep freeze. Even more worryingly, several drums containing agricultural and mechanical chemicals that damage the aquatic environment were also found. The collected litter was picked up and, where possible, recycled by Powys County Council.
Over 60% of the litter collected during The Big Upper Wye Litter Clear was believed to be of agricultural origin. The project follows on from a similar exercise on the rivers Lugg and Arrow last year where 220 volunteers cleared 767 sacks of rubbish from another 100 miles of river and stream, 61% of which was agricultural.
Dr Stephen Marsh-Smith, Director of the Wye and Usk Foundation said:
“Tipping rubbish down banks and into rivers is, I’m sorry to say, part of our rural culture. By clearing it away we solve one part of the problem but I hope we also make people feel very uncomfortable about it so rubbish is disposed of properly in the future. We hope to clear the upper Wye’s main tributaries, the Ithon and Irfon, and further downstream on the main stem Wye next year.”
Tony Norman, the Foundation trustee managing the campaign, said:
“It has been a delight to get to know the country so well in such a beautiful part of Wales. But, it is tinged with regret that the pristine water that falls on those hills is marred by the careless behaviour of a few people.”
Rachel Palmer of Keep Wales Tidy commented:
“By working together we have achieved something that none of us could have managed alone. As well as cleaning up over 100 miles of river, the activity has raised awareness of the surprising levels of waste in an apparently clean rural river system. The volunteers have been absolutely fantastic and alongside lots of agricultural plastic and food and drink packaging there were some surprising finds including a surveyor's pole, a St George's flag and a floating bread-bin!”
“However, the litter clearing efforts don’t stop with the end of this project and if you would like to help us, please get in touch on 07717 497 442 or email@example.com”
Simon Dereham of the River Wye Preservation Trust said:
“Our principle aim is to help preserve one of England and Wales’s most beautiful rivers and we will continue to support all action in future efforts that will help keep our rivers clear of pollution and rubbish.”’
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