More needs to be done to keep our countryside clean says Hemel man who spotted swans' nest surrounded by plastic waste near canal

The Canal and River Trust is asking people to join the Plastic Challenge and take part in a litter pick near the canal

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 11:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 11:40 am

More must be done to keep the countryside clean says a Hemel man after seeing a family of swans sitting on a nest surrounded by plastic waste near the canal.

Guy Matthews was shocked when he saw the amount of litter strewn along the canalside last week.

He saw the swans next to the canal between Berkhamsted and Northchurch while on his daily bike ride on Thursday, April 22.

Guy saw a family of swans sitting on a nest surrounded by plastic waste near the canal

He said: "The canalside is strewn with plastic litter and the poor swans even have plastic sheeting as part of their nesting material.

"It is near the industrial estate, on the right as you go from Berkhamsted to Northchurch.

"You can't really walk along there, it's on the other side.

"It looks like someone has thrown it over a fence, or off one of the barges.

"There's a large white sheet, which now seems to be part of the swan's nest, which is really sad.

"It is really sad to see and I can not believe that it is allowed to happen, especially with all the talk around tackling climate crisis.

"I'm not sure who is responsible for that land, but something needs to be done."

The Canal and River Trust look after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales.

The trust is asking people to join the Plastic Challenge and take part in a litter pick on their local towpath.

A spokesperson for the Canal and River Trust said: "Canals and rivers have been havens for mental and physical health during the pandemic, with more weekly visits to local towpaths in many urban areas.

"However, this has been accompanied by a rise in littering, up 68 per cent in 2020, putting the nation’s precious waterway wildlife habitats at risk and causing an unsightly problem.

"It’s tragic that people are dropping litter and more important than ever for people to dispose of it responsibly or take it home with them.

"If everyone who visited one of our canals or rivers picked up just one piece of plastic, they’d be clear within a year.

“We’re also asking people to join our Plastics Challenge and take part in a litter pick to really make a difference to their local towpath.”