Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Fishy Fly Tipper Story

Is it me or are things getting worse. When boating around the canal, I have learned that the closer you are to where people live - the more rubbish there is in or alongside the canal. The amount of deposited rubbish seems to match the size of the local conurbation. However in all fairness, in some places the locals do make a conscious effort to keep on top of the ever growing problem. In some places as you approach a bridge, you are more likely to find some object dumped in the canal. Often a shopping trolley was used to transport the dumped item and then the trolley is disposed of in the same way.

Fly-tipping is an increasing problem and it is only going to get worse. The most significant cause of the problem is high costs of taking waste to authorised dump sites in the UK. The surcharges were intended to deter people from taking materials into land fill sites that could be recycled. The policy is not working. So now the scrotes of this world have a new money making opportunity. Bogus waste disposal services.

We recently refitted our bathroom. I rang up my local council for them to collect for disposal a large cast iron bath, a ceramic toilet and a ceramic handbasin. I did not have the facility to take it myself to a recycling site.  I was quoted £35. On the same day a couple of itinerant "scrap collectors" came round and were happy to take away the bath for free. However they asked about the taps on the old hand basin and the fittings for the toilet. I said they could take the basin and toilet as well. Whilst my back was turned, they quickly broke up the toilet and basin, filled my bin with all the ceramic bits and were on their way with the bath, taps and fittings. Somehow I felt they had done us a service. Because nothing was being fly tipped in the countryside and we saved ourselves some money.

We live in a very rural area with some very narrow and little used roads. Over a period of time we have come to identify that there are hot spots on these back roads for small scale fly-tipping. One of the hot spots is close to a canal bridge on a disused section of the Dearne and Dove canal. In the main the rubbish that collects consists of the waste paper and cardboard from a nearby fast food drive through. The drivers park up, the meal is consumed and the rubbish goes through the car window. However we have also noted that there are bigger problems with the odd TV or Fridge and other white goods now being dumped in the same places. The fast food rubbish is a magnet for other types of rubbish.

Last year we had some asbestos and other rubbish fly tipped in the same place which we reported to the council. The non asbestos items were cleared away in a few days. The asbestos remained in place for over six months before it was cleared away. This waiting period coincided with the school holidays. Children playing in the wooded area had over time broken up the asbestos and scattered it around!

Fly-tipping however, is not limited to individuals who dispose of small amounts of their personal rubbish. Now some pseudo commercial disposal companies have been getting in the act. To save the surcharge dumping fees and maximise their ill gotten gains. One such culprit, is Wayne Richards, who was found guilty of dumping 28 lorry loads of household rubbish and creating in a dumping hot spot his own 100 ton rubbish mountain. Richards, was operating under the name Richards Rubbish Clearance. As his business name suggests Richards was rubbish at clearance and is now serving 15 months for fly tipping into our countryside.

So what can we do to protect our canals, rivers and countryside.
If you see items that have been dumped - Report them to the local council or to BW if it is alongside or in the canal. The sooner it is disposed off - the sooner the magnetic attraction for other rubbish is removed. Make a note of where it is, what it is and identify the location with road names, bridge numbers etc. If you see vehicles that you think might be being used for fly tipping report the registration number, time, date and place to the police and to your local council.

Fellow blogger Maffi, has for some time now been banging on about the amount of rubbish he is seeing and in some cases clearing up. He is to be applauded for his public spirited action. You might want to play a more proactive part and adopt a small section of canal and towpath to keep in a clean and tidy condition by doing the odd black bin liner collection from time to time. We do make a point of clearing up small pockets of rubbish whenever we are out with the boat. If we moor up for a period we tend to clear up more than we create and transport it to the next disposal point. However, we are not on a mission, we are out to enjoy our boating. For us any small clean up jobs are just a part of the enjoyment and not the the main focus.

But it does not stop there.
Now the fish stocks in our canals and rivers are under threat of poaching and even swans are being killed and eaten. Migrant workers from Eastern Europe have been accused of "raping and pillaging" rivers and canals by preying illegally on fish and swans. Anglers in Peterborough have complained of plummeting fish stocks, while the carcasses of swans have been found on the bank. Witnesses claim fish are being caught in and out of season. Using inhumane methods, such as long lines with multiple hooks which are left in the water overnight and cause the fish a slow and painful death.

The migrant workers who are poaching in Peterborough are not necessarily wantonly breaking the law. Often they are simply unaware that the rules here are different to those in the United Kingdom. In a highly-regulated Britain, for example, the fishing season closes in March and will not reopen until June so that stocks can be replenished through breeding. A breach of the law can result in a £2,500 fine.

Killing or injuring a swan carries a fine of up to £5,000 and six months in prison. Until as recently as 1998 the offence was treason, as the birds belong to the Crown under an ancient charter. But many Eastern European countries have a completely different attitude to their wildlife, with animals caught for the dinner table considered to be fair game.

Kathy Hornig, a welfare officer for the RSPCA, has visited several sites where swan carcasses were found. She said: "We have been aware of this for some time. The people trying to catch the swans are causing them extreme distress." Anyone who sees swans being targeted is encouraged to call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999

In Poland, for example, fishing permits are required but there is seldom any enforcement outside cities, meaning many people ignore or are unaware of the rules. While carp, pike and other species such as barbel and bream are classic catches for sporting anglers in the UK. The fishermen return them to the water. However, the same species are considered delicacies in other parts of Europe.

Carp is a traditional Christmas Eve dish in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Germany. Swan have allegedly been captured from the River Nene in Peterborough. The poachers use bread on barbed snares to haul them in. They are then clubbed to death and taken away as a free food item. Recently five Polish men were caught fishing illegally in the area. Signs in multiple languages have now been put up to try to deter the poachers.

If you see people who you think are poaching our wildlife - report them to the police.


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