Litter: Anglers are Not the Main Problem
Promoting and Developing Angling:Make Angling Popular | Get People Fishing | Fishing Matches| Litter: Anglers are Not the Main Problem | Angling Development Management Group | National Angling Strategy
Watercourses attract litter. By their very nature, they act as sinks for windblown litter which, when it becomes wet, stays where it lands. Vandals enjoy tipping shopping trolleys and traffic cones into rivers and lakes. People dump unwanted fridges and other household waste into streams and on riverbanks. Litter in rivers causes a flood risk and can be a hazard to anglers and their tackle. It washes out to sea where it adds to flotsam from shipping and commercial trawlers, creating vast tides of plastic waste in the oceans which threaten wildlife and despoil the last great wilderness. The presence of litter spoils the beauty of our coasts and waterbodies and our enjoyment of the natural environment, which is one of the main reasons many of us go fishing.
There is currently no statutory duty on any organisation to remove litter from watercourses, unless it poses an immediate flood risk. Councils have responsibility for cleaning most land, but their duties end when land is covered by water. The Angling Trust believes that a duty should be created to keep our rivers and beaches clean and that fly-tipping laws should be properly enforced.
Anglers are often blamed for leaving litter on banks and beaches, and there are often media reports about pets and wildlife becoming entangled in line or spiked by hooks. Angling litter actually comprises a tiny proportion of all litter in rivers, but it is important that angling is seen to be the responsible activity that it really is and we must not provide critics of angling with ammunition. We must therefore do all we can to prevent litter and do our bit to remove it from water environments and publicise our efforts.
What we will do:
- Promote our "Tidy Angler" project, funded by the Environment Agency, to provide guidance to angling clubs, fisheries and riparian owners in clearing litter from rivers, lakes and beaches.
- Offer online resources to members including: guidance on health and safety, risk assessment, necessary equipment, a template press release for local media and how to make arrangements for disposal of litter collected.
- Litter clean-up events will be used as launch events for environmental campaigns on freshwater and in the marine environment.
- Assist our members in promoting the positive environmental work that anglers carry out in the media.
- Post photographs of members' events on the Angling Trust web site.
- Campaign to encourage the small minority of anglers who leave litter behind to change their behaviour.
- Work with others to provide a source of line bins for clubs, public fisheries and beaches to allow the safe disposal of used fishing line.
- Co-ordinate a national Tidy Angler day/weekend/week which could generate national media coverage.
- Produce education materials for schools and communities promoting legal disposal and recycling.
- Campaign and lobby Government for the extension of statutory duties to watercourses and for enforcement of existing legislation.