Thursday 8 December 2016

Camper van, dead python and tin bath among dumped items found in waterways

Published 24/03/2016 | 00:11

The Canal and River Trust said the cost of clearing dumped rubbish could be spent on improving habitat for wildlife and ensuring waterways are clear for boaters
The Canal and River Trust said the cost of clearing dumped rubbish could be spent on improving habitat for wildlife and ensuring waterways are clear for boaters

A tandem bike, a tin bath and firearms are just some of the items dumped in canals and rivers, a survey conducted this winter revealed.

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They are among the stranger objects recovered in a four-month survey of rubbish thrown in waterways, as part of a £45 million restoration and repairs programme by the Canal and River Trust.

The bizarre rubbish joins a 16ft dead python, a Volkswagen camper van, a bus stop sign, an unexploded Second-World-War hand grenade, a bag of bullets and a pizza delivery bike still carrying a pizza, which have all been recovered in the past five years.

The Canal and River Trust is revealing the things it pulls from the waterways to highlight the £1 million annual cost to the charity to clear dumped rubbish, which it says could be spent on improving habitat for wildlife and ensuring waterways are clear for boaters.

The trust also warns that it cannot recover every item that is dumped, from the weird to long-lasting litter such as plastic bags and fizzy drinks cans which go on causing problems to waterway users and wildlife as they linger under the waterline.

Tyres and other rubbish contain pollutants which leak into the water and poison fish and other creatures, while rubbish can pose a choking hazard or trap wildlife, according to the charity which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

The survey shows that the typical tennis court-sized canal lock contains one bicycle, one shopping trolley, one traffic cone, 67 glass bottles, four tyres, 150 plastic bags, 23 cans and three windlasses, or lock keys.

Peter Birch, national environment manager for the Canal and River Trust, said: "I'm constantly surprised at what people throw into the canal and the quantity of litter that we retrieve.

"Dealing with the problem is a big task and the money could be better spent enhancing the canals for people and wildlife to enjoy for years to come."

The charity is calling on people to think twice about polluting their local canal or river with old plastic bags and litter, and encouraging people who want to lend a hand with looking after the waterways to join its volunteer "t owpath taskforce".

Press Association

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