A KAYAKING group has warned that parts of our local waterways are becoming “absolutely filthy” due to the exponential increase in fly-tipping.
Having instigated a new clean-up initiative last month – ‘Take Five’ – Foyle Paddlers described as shocking the amount of waste which is accumulating along parts of the River Foyle.
Speaking to the Strabane Chronicle this week, club member Danny Bryce says it’s clear that fly-tipping along the rivers Strule, Mourne and Finn is to blame.
“It seems to be coming down from Lifford, St Johnston, Killea and possibly Strabane,” he said. “It is accumulating near New Buildings and along the shore right up past Bready. Also on the other side of the river. It is obvious that fly tipping is on the increase as the waste is mainly domestic.
“A group of paddlers were on the River Deele in Donegal recently and were astounded at the amount of domestic waste. We are encouraging local river users to ‘Take Five’ pieces of plastic away when leaving the waterways.”
The ‘Take Five’ initiative isn’t just for canoeists, Danny explained. He says it’s aimed at all people who use the rivers, whether it’s walkers on the river banks, anglers or any water based sportspeople.
In December when the club first started the initiative, members collected a huge amount of plastic detritus in just 20 minutes.
Danny is also currently in the process of liaising with Derry City and Strabane District Council to have the initiative taken on at local authority level.
“It’s pretty bad at the moment,” he continued. “From Prehen as far as St Johnson, the west bank of the river is absolutely covered.
“It’s difficult to pin point where the rubbish is coming from but from paddling the rivers for years, it’s clear to us that the situation is getting worse. We all know that these plastics can end up in the oceans and have a bad affect on marine life. So as well as asking people to take a wee bit of extra social responsibility and pick up some plastic, we need to stop it from happening at all.
“The Foyle, Mourne, Strule and Finn rivers are gorgeous environments, so it’s a real shame that this is happening.”