A child’s car seat, sandwich wrappers and fast food containers are among the “disgusting” mountain of rubbish washed up on the banks of the River Ribble.
Residents today raised concerns over the amount of rubbish dumped on paths leading to the river in Penwortham as volunteers urged people to form their own groups to tackle the problem.
The man who took these shocking pictures, Graham Dixon, a keen environmentalist, was walking his dogs down to the river when he came across the rubbish.
He said: “I usually walk on the other side of the river and it is quite overgrown so we don’t usually get down there. It is disgusting. People are just throwing things over. It is a nice area and it is a real shame it looks so disgusting.”
Catherine Birtwistle, administrator at the Ribble Rivers Trust, which is a volunteer-led group aiming to improve the river, said: “It is shocking to see that amount of litter pile up, but you have to consider the fact that every single watercourse in the Ribble catchment, including rivers and streams from the Hodder, Calder and Darwen river catchments, converge before flowing past Penwortham.
“The high rainfall in recent months has resulted in frequent high river levels across the catchment, so this litter could have been washed down from a combination of areas such as Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Clitheroe, Barnoldswick, Blackburn, Darwen and Preston itself.
“Littering is a major problem, especially in urban areas and it’s largely down to people’s perceptions of the river.
“Urban rivers tend to be confined by concrete channels, covered up by buildings and roads, and filled with litter, making them appear unsightly to the public. Unfortunately, if someone sees a river channel full of rubbish, they’re more inclined to add to it.”
She called for more people to take part in river clean-ups, such as the Urban River Enhancement Scheme in Burnley.
She said: “We run regular volunteer events around the Ribble catchment and have some river clean-ups this month. But we need more help from other organisations and volunteers if we are to tackle the problem at Penwortham.
“The Ribble Trust is always glad of new volunteers to help with river clean-ups and other habitat work, but better still, we’d like to see people assembling their own work parties to adopt a stretch of their local river and keep it litter-free.”
Penwortham Town Council councillor David Howarth said he had been contacted by residents who had concerns about litter in the area.
He said: “The first complaint I got was about the length of Howick Cross Lane (towards the river).
“There has been some flytipping over the stiles to the river and that has now been cleared. A lot of it is coming either from the river or along the river banks. I would imagine all these bottles are not doing much for the river in terms of water quality. A lot of people do use the area. They start at Priory Park and walk the length of the river.”
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “The debris photographed looks to have been washed up by the tide. Rubbish, including maritime litter, appears to have been washed downstream along the River Ribble. This has then got caught up inshore and deposited on the bank side.”
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Weather for Preston
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 10 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west