What do you think of it so far? Rubbish!

April 2017 - C&RT's campaign against dumping rubbish in the canals has been a little low-profile to date and its ability to clean the multitude of junk from under the water somewhat patchy and dependent on volunteers.

It makes a new effort to raise public awareness each year just after the stoppage season when it has harvested a new collection of pictures of discarded junk but this year, perhaps because of a small government anti-litter campaign, it seems to be making better inroads into public consciousness, particularly in city areas.

Boaters would be delighted to spend less time scraping over discarded rubbish and suddenly finding their boat lurch to a dangerous angle as they pass over a dumped shopping trolley or worse.

One highlight of the publicity campaign was the regional media coverage of the junk in the pounds of the Rochdale flight in Manchester, where C&RT cleared the rubbish before re-watering and the local council also took steps to close the underground section at night.

In Birmingham the regular BCN clean-up brought headlines in the local evening 'papers and in London stories about odds finds on the canal bed also earned coverage.

The Trust highlighted the weird and wonderful junk dumped in canals - a blow-up doll, golf buggies, pogo stick, flat screen TV and opened safes in its efforts to highlight the effect of dumped rubbish on nation’s waterways

In true tabloid form C&RT announced; “At an annual cost of £1 million to clean up after litter-happy Britons – from blow up dolls to shopping trolleys - the Canal & River Trust is saying enough is enough.”

It also provided a snapshot of public attitudes by producing a survey in which 96 per cent of people said that they didn’t think it was acceptable to drop litter, but 66 per cent still admitted to doing it.

It also highlighted the damage: “Most of the discarded rubbish on the waterways sinks to the bottom of the canal or river bed, causing an invisible hazard to the environment and boats.

“Tyres and other rubbish contain pollutants which leak into the water and poison fish and other wildlife. Often rubbish acts as a choking hazard and wildlife can become trapped in it.”

The survey also showed 80 per cent of people concerned about the amount of litter in their local area – yet every year thousands of plastic bags (which take up to 20 years to break down) and drink cans (which can take up to 200 years) are thrown into the waterways.

Peter Birch, National Environment Manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Rubbish being thrown into our canals and rivers is a problem that is not going away. We are asking members of the public to join the fight against litter. We should be protecting these special places not damaging them. Our excellent army of volunteers help us to clear rubbish but the funds that we have to allocate to it could be better spent.”

Photos: (1st) Blow-up doll - Rochdale Canal Manchester, (2nd) Bikes from Huddersfield Canal at Stalybridge, (3rd) Rochdale Canal plastic litter, (4th) Cleaning up Limehouse Cut in London, (5th) The drained Rochdale Canal in Manchester, (6th) Flat Screen TV from the Ashton canal, (7th) Rubbish, (8th) A safe recovered from London's Regents Canal, (9th) A safe and a tyre from Wigan, (10th) Volunteers cleaning up the Grand Union at Warwick.

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