AS A BOATER and volunteer on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal can I add the following, [concerning the article about the rubbish] writes Dave Hargreaves.
I'm surprised that the whole journey was spoiled by the rubbish that was encountered as there are great swaths of the canal that have no rubbish at all and some bits must be considered to be the most picturesque bits of canal in the whole country.
Here to stay
I think the problem of rubbish is here to stay, despite how much we complain, a significant number of towpath users along the canal and indeed boaters themselves (found a porti potti by the towpath at Crooke the other day) just use the canal as a dump.
CaRT personnel quite often turn a blind eye to the problem. Which leaves the problem to volunteers and possibly boaters themselves. One of your pictures shows I think the bottom lock at Blackburn. This location faces the West and when the wind blows from the West which it often does then all the floating debris gets blown into this spot.
The mile or so to the West may be relatively clean but this spot and other similar spots collect all the rubbish. Volunteers can and do collect rubbish from the accessible bits including inside the lock if the lock is full (40 bin bags at Wigan in two hours the other week) but the area below the bottom gates is a problem.
Can I encourage boaters to tackle the problem themselves and use a net to fish out this rubbish and bin it. The rubbish in my experience isn't toxic and is mainly plastic bottles that have blown into that spot. The local councils quite often aren't bothered as the rubbish isn't on their land, and if bins are installed they say they haven't got the money to regularly empty them. Ultimately the only people who will tackle the problem are ourselves.