Litterbugs wrecking our canal

Plastic peril for wildlife - the bottle strewn canal at Martland Milll
Plastic peril for wildlife - the bottle strewn canal at Martland Milll

IT is one of the most picturesque spots in Wigan - but the banks of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal are being spoiled by litterbugs.

The section of the canal which runs from Woodhouse Lane to near Crooke village, is full of rubbish, with plastic bottles and cans floating along the water and further mounds collecting along the banks.

Large pieces of plastic, card and even a Wigan Athletic foam finger have been found in the water.

One reader, who regularly walks along the canal, said: “I was absolutely dismayed at the amount of litter in the canal.

“I expect there to be the odd scrap of rubbish in the water, or on the towpath, but there was huge mounds which had deposited along the canal bank. I had never seen so much litter in one place before.

“It is a shame because it is a lovely spot to walk along. It also gives a bad impression to visitors who drive along the canal in their boats.”

Ward councillor Phyll Cullen said litter is a problem near the canal – and despite the efforts of those who look after the canal, it is not going away.

She said: “We have had this quite a number of times, especially when there is a match on at stadium, as there are no bins.

“We have had many clean ups, but I don’t think there is any other way forward as we need a long term solution.

“People don’t think of the danger to ducks and swans, or the fact that if the litter gets stuck on the canal boat motors it could be dangerous.”

She pledged to ask Wigan Council’s environmental team to investigate what can be done.

Debbie Lumb, waterway manager for British Waterways North West, said: “It is a sad fact that a small number of irresponsible people discard their rubbish in and around their local canal.

“My team carries out regular litter sweeps along the Leeds and Liverpool canal but this is a never ending battle.

“But for every penny we have to spend on clearing up someone else’s litter, it is one less penny we can spend on maintenance of the nation’s canals so we would ask people to think before they simply just throw their litter into the canal.

“As an organisation we are looking for more volunteers to get involved in their local canal and help clear up an area of the canal.

“Anyone interested in getting involved with this or other events should contact matt.taylor@britishwaterways.co.uk”