An angry resident and keen photographer has slammed selfish Wiganers who are spoiling the borough’s open spaces by dumping rubbish.
Lensman Steve Heaton, from Higher Ince, says the images he has captured in the last week showing the state of land near the Leeds-Liverpool Canal are among the worst he has ever seen.
Mr Heaton’s photos shows piles of rubbish, including bottles and cans, black bin bags filled with waste and even a mattress, abandoned near the waterway’s towpaths.
He spotted much of the waste after turning off the towpath at Clarington Grove, close to Wigan St Patrick’s rugby league club, saying litter was festooning bushes and patches of grass.
He is now calling on residents to take more pride in the appearance of the borough and says he despairs at how little care seems to be taken over Wigan’s green spaces.
Mr Heaton said: “The problem is definitely getting worse. That was some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The only place I’ve seen more was further down the canal where there were beds, mattresses and all sorts being dumped.
“The sight that greeted me when I turned onto Clarington Grove was disgusting. There was litter everywhere from a mattress to household rubbish to black bin bags full of rubbish and even the burnt-out remains of someone’s wheelie bin. It was scattered everywhere.
“You can see from the pictures that not one bit of litter has been removed for a very long time. There’s also a small car park nearby and there’s rubbish all around it.
“I see an awful lot of rubbish when I am out and about down by the canal. It’s happening all over Wigan and a lot of it is in full view of any passing traffic, whether its cars or canal boats. It is not an image of Wigan we want visitors from other towns to see.
“I don’t really know what can be done about it unless you can employ people to shift it all, but nobody bats an eyelid at it these days.”
Mr Heaton says the canal close to Ince Hall Avenue is another fly-tipping flashpoint but litter thrown there is often collected after a few days.
Mr Heaton’s condemnation comes just a few weeks after walker Chris Winstanley hit out at the state of the canal in New Springs.
Wigan Council thanked Mr Heaton for raising the issue and said its initial research suggested the areas affected are private land.
However, the town hall said the rugby league club had already been in touch about organising a litter pick to remove all the waste from the land.
The local authority also strongly condemned the irresponsible individuals responsible for dumping waste in the borough.
Karl Battersby, director of economy and environment at Wigan Council, said: “Fly-tipping ruins our communities and annually costs the council £800,000 which equates to nearly one per cent of council tax.
“Through The Deal, by residents not fly-tipping and recycling their waste correctly we can keep council tax low.
“We need residents to help us by reporting incidents and hotspots so we can carry out enforcement action and catch offenders.”
Fly-tipping can be reported to Wigan Council using the Report It app or online at www.wigan.gov.uk/reportit