Erne Paddlers lead community big litter pick

IT’S our most precious environmental and economic resource but, until last week, the shores of the Erne around the county town were a litter-strewn mess.

Thanks to the hard work of Erne Paddlers, though, walkers will have noticed a distinct improvement in local litter levels over the past week.

The group is now calling for a statutory body to be set up to tackle the ongoing and damaging issue.


As part of the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership’s Big Big Fermanagh Litter Pick, held over the last weekend in April, a team of canoeists from Erne Paddlers collected a huge amount of rubbish from the waters around Enniskillen.

From shopping trolleys to traffic cones and even wheelie bins, to umbrellas and hundreds of plastic bottles and drinks cans, Erne Paddlers noted much of the rubbish it collected had been accumulating over many months.

The group had previously called for the powers-that-be to take action to tackle the problem, noting no statutory agency actually has responsibility for keeping the lough clean.

Speaking after the big litter pick, Erne Paddlers general manager Paul Harrington said, “Most of the rubbish was on full view to the public walking around the waters’ edge in Enniskillen town, a town that rightly prides itself on its unique and beautiful location.

“A large amount of money is spent annually promoting the beauty of Enniskillen and the surrounding lakes to visitors, and yet we allow rubbish to accumulate in the water and on the banks like this. Most of this rubbish has been there for months.”

He added, “Its not just the unsightly nature of the litter, it’s the toxins released into the water by all the various plastics. This is harmful to fish and to wildlife. While paddling there is no more distressing sight than seeing a duck picking its way through litter in the reeds.”

Mr Harrington repeated calls for a body to be set up to tackle the ongoing problem.


“The problem of litter being left to accumulate in the water is indicative of a much larger problem on the Erne,” he said.

“There is no overall management authority for this unique body of water. Each public body has its own limited remit. Many issues, litter being only one, fall down between these bodies and the Erne Catchment suffers.

“Erne Paddlers are not alone in calling for a partnership to be set up between all the stakeholders in the Erne Catchment to coordinate approaches and to develop a joint strategy for the future of our beautiful Erne.”

During last week’s big litter pick, Erne Paddlers were assisted by local police officers in their PSNI rib, as well as Simon Harron, Asda community champion, who helped retrieve two trolleys from the water. All trolleys found were returned to the local supermarkets they came from.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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