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Does Litter Bug You?

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Litter is the bane of Simon Cooper's life... Litter is the bane of Simon Cooper's life...

Simon Cooper is being bugged by litter, and he’s not alone, it’s everywhere…






I am often asked whether poaching is a big problem for us and the truth is no. Occasionally we will get a bunch of kids dangling over a bridge but trout are mostly a wary bunch who soon outwit them. So, on the rivers do we have any problems of the human kind? Well, of course. I must admit what used to enrage me most was wanton vandalism; breaking down fences, the smashing of cabin windows and low level stuff.

But today it is litter that really is the bane of my life.

I exaggerate not when I tell you that each and every one of the river keepers I know will have spent some time in the past month on litter patrol in the run up to the opening day. However, for them it is not just a stick, bin bag and rummage along the verges but the donning of waders that has to do the job. It really never ceases to amaze me the amount of rubbish people discard into rivers. It is hard to conceive why anyone would lob a beer can into a pristine stream, but they do and in quantities you would find hard to believe.

And there is a definite pecking order for the metal. Beer cans are in a clear majority, energy drinks second, closely followed by soft drinks. Sandwich packages, crisp bags and sweet wrappers are the litter stuff, plus loads of assorted items you really do not want me to list.

Depressingly there is also a pattern to where we find most of this. Inevitably it will be downstream of urban conurbations; typically the hundred yards of a river below a road bridge or foot bridge on the edge of a town that will require a weekly clean up. The further you get away from people the less the problem…

You may wonder what has prompted this rant. Well, three things really. Firstly, it has been much on my mind as we have dedicated so much time to the clearing up during April. Secondly, when we are trying so hard to improve the big stuff like water quality and habitat the litter thing really makes you despair as to why as a nation we can't be good about the small stuff. And finally the campaign launched by Country Life at least told me I wasn't alone in being appalled at the quantity of littler desecrating our beautiful countryside.

It doesn't make for uplifting reading (e.g. 2.25m items of litter discarded every day) but the article and subsequent support it has garnered is worth reading, you can check it out HERE


Flyfishing.co.uk is delighted to bring you Simon’s feature, which was first published in his ‘Fishing Breaks’ Newsletter.

Simon’s company, Fishing Breaks, based in the heart of the River Test Valley, offers some of the finest chalk stream fly fishing available in the UK – and a whole lot more. Check out their website HERE



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