A LOCAL angler says Fermanagh’s reputation as a world class angling destination is being blighted by illegal dumping along our rivers.
Dedicated members of Kesh and District Angling Club took to the water and river banks over the weekend to tackle rubbish tips as part of their anti-litter drive.
A handful of volunteers collected over 30 bags of assorted rubbish during the three hour operation on Saturday along the Kesh River, from the town bridge to Lower Lough Erne. However, almost the same amount has still to be gathered from the river while much more exists on the shorelines of Kesh Bay.
Stephen Hey, Chairman of Kesh and District Angling Club is urging people to take heed of the consequences of their actions and stop throwing rubbish into our rivers.
“The problem is not getting better and if anything it’s just getting worse. We have done this on numerous occasions and I am sad to report the situation over the last 25 years shows no improvement. The riverbanks and loughshores are awash with plastic litter and the gathering of it is a never-ending task,” he said.
“There seems to be a problem with illegal dumping along our bridges and it’s mostly made up of soft drink containers and fast food trays. There also appears to be very little anti-litter signage at these areas.
“I would have thought that it would take very little money to put CCTV cameras at these illegal dumping spots or even dummy ones just to try and deter fly tippers.”
Mr Hey says the situation is at odds with the expensive advertising of Fermanagh as a tourist destination.
“Many parts of the county are indeed beautiful, but a significant and increasing proportion is being blighted by neglect and ignorant attitudes to waste disposal. We have Fermanagh being promoted as a tourist resort but I don’t think the infrastructure of what we are trying to sell is being properly looked after when it’s like a rubbish tip along the rivers.”
He added: “Angling was world class here 40 years ago – now it isn’t. As a result tourists will go elsewhere and certainly avoid the litter-strewn areas around our major rivers feeding into Lough Erne.”
A council spokeswoman told the Herald: “The riverbanks and shores around Lough Erne are the responsibility of the landowners whose lands border these waterways.
On request, the council provides ‘no dumping’ signage to landowners who wish to erect signage at places where littering or dumping is a recurring problem.
“The Council also provides litter containers at many car parks, jetties and public slipways around the lough. These are regularly serviced and emptied. The Council takes very seriously the enforcement of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment legislation and will take appropriate action where there is evidence of the identity of those who are littering or dumping,” she added.
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Posted: 1:00 pm March 3, 2016