Edwin Poots ‘shocked’ at levels of rubbish in NI rivers

Edwin Poots ‘shocked’ at levels of rubbish in NI rivers

The environment minister has said he is “shocked at the level of pollution, debris and waste,” in NI rivers.

Almost 20,000 plastic and glass bottles, 800 football, rugby and tennis balls and 120 bags of rubbish are an example of some of the things fished out of the River Bann in nine months.

Edwin Poots took to the river in a kayak to see the extent of the problem.

Mr Poots said the volume of debris in the waterway was “truly appalling”.

He went with a volunteer who has been trying to clear the river and improve the water and habitat quality for wildlife and nature.

“It’s obvious that it has a profound and damaging impact on the fish and wildlife using our rivers and on the ecosystem including organisms, plants, grasses and trees near the river banks,” said Mr Poots.

He said that while many enjoy the benefits of nature and respect the outdoors, “others are selfish and lazy and simply dispose of things without thinking or caring about the effects”.

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“A plastic straw takes approximately 200 years to decompose, a plastic bottle 450 years and some plastics never decompose,” he said.

“It is our responsibility to help our environment to thrive,” he added.

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