‘Take your rubbish home’ plea after 21 bags of rubbish collected in Otter Estuary clean up

PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 September 2020

Nany Ponting and Evelyn Whitaker with some of the litter collected. Picture: KOR Communications

Nany Ponting and Evelyn Whitaker with some of the litter collected. Picture: KOR Communications

Archant

The discovery of discarded tins, plastic, glass and a container of engine oil on the Otter Estuary has prompted calls for visitors to the beauty spot to take their rubbish home with them.

Kate Ponting (Clinton Devon Estates) and Geoff Porter (Otter Valley Association) at the litter pick-up. Photo credit Geoff Porter. Picture: KOR CommunicationsKate Ponting (Clinton Devon Estates) and Geoff Porter (Otter Valley Association) at the litter pick-up. Photo credit Geoff Porter. Picture: KOR Communications

In a joint litter-pick up organised by the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and the Otter Valley Association on Saturday (September 19), volunteers collected 21 bags of rubbish.

The plea for people to be more vigilant also follows the rescue of two injured swans, a male and a cygnet, which were found entangled in fishing line in two separate incidents in recent weeks.

Both swans were treated for their injuries and later released back onto the River Otter.

Kate Ponting, countryside learning officer for the conservation trust, said: “Swans are an easily recognisable species on the river and both pairs had young this year.

Volunteers taking part in the Ottery Estuary clean up. Picture: KOR CommunicationsVolunteers taking part in the Ottery Estuary clean up. Picture: KOR Communications

“Along with other birds, mammals and fish on the river they give a lot of pleasure to visitors walking here.

“We are grateful to the members of the public who alerted us to the swans’ injuries and the excellent care they received at Exeter Veterinary Surgery, but these kinds of incidents are avoidable.

“We get enjoyment from being in the natural world in different ways, but whether we are walking, fishing, paddling a canoe or exercising a dog, we owe it to wildlife, other people and these beautiful places to ensure our actions have no negative impact.

“Picking up litter dropped on the riverbank is depressing and it spoils the enjoyment for other people, but finding waste including fishing tackle out on the estuary where birds feed and breed is more serious.

“If it doesn’t cause an issue for species here, then it is likely to wash out to sea contributing to the waste polluting our oceans and threatening marine wildlife there.”

Geoff Porter, of the Otter Valley Association, said: “A lot of drink cans and bottles were found but what was also concerning was the high levels of rubbish we collected in car parking areas, which would inevitably find its way to the estuary in a flood.”


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