Concern over litter and rubbish in Derbyshire rivers after moped fished out of Derwent

A Derbyshire watersports group say it is ‘so important’ to look after our rivers after seeing an increase in litter along the banks of the county’s waterways.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:44 pm

Paddle Peak, a community project promoting responsible paddle sport in the Peak District, said an easing of lockdown restrictions has been accompanied by a rise in rubbish.

Members of the group, who spend time cleaning up the rivers they use for recreation, have described the situation as particularly serious on the River Derwent at Matlock Bath.

Founder of the group Pete Astles said: “As soon as lockdown eases the number of visitors increases in Matlock Bath and straight away sadly we see a big increase in litter in the River Derwent.

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The moped Paddle Peak volunteers fished out of the River Derwent. Image: Paddle Peak Group.
The moped Paddle Peak volunteers fished out of the River Derwent. Image: Paddle Peak Group.

"It is mainly chip trays, plastic soft drinks bottles, beer bottles and cans.”

However the group has been forced to tackle a number of larger items dumped in rivers – including a shooping trolley, sofa and even a moped.

“Recently at low water we’ve managed to get some really big things out, it was pretty interesting to get a sofa down the river on my canoe,” Pete said.

The moped Paddle Peak volunteers fished out of the River Derwent. Image: Paddle Peak Group.

The group has backed the Derbyshire Times’ Love Where You Live campaign, which aims to highlight the work of litter picking groups, and says taking care of our waterways is just as vital as dry land.

“It’s so important to care for our rivers,” Pete added.

"Ultimately any rubbish in the river will make its way downstream to the sea.

"The plastic breaks down into micro plastics and impacts wildlife. In fact a whale was found washed up on a beach with over 100kgs of plastic inside it’s stomach. Litter on the road, after rainfall finds its way into the river too.

Paddle Peak volunteers have seen an increase in littering in our rivers. Image: Paddle Peak Group.

"When we clean the riversides we encounter a huge amount of sewage pollution, mainly wet wipes and sanitary items.

"Unfortunately our old sewage system combines sewage with rain water, and after a heavy downpour the sewers overflow and any items that have been flushed end up in the river.

"So part of our work is to promote not flushing anything but the three Ps down the loo! All of the wet wipes are plastic, they too end up in the sea, damaging wildlife and ecology as they go.”

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