This is a departure from my usual photo blog, as you can see I did take some photos, but I felt compelled to write this as there is a more important story to share, so please read on.
Last weekend I spent Sunday morning on the banks of the River Alyn as it runs through the little hamlet of Pontblyddyn. The sun was warm as my husband, father-in-law and I walked along the bank through huge drifts of wild garlic, not yet in flower, but releasing its unmistakable but pleasant aroma as we brushed through the leaves. I also spotted butterbur growing in abundance too.
Perryn and his Dad, Hugh, are members of the Wrexham & District Fly Fishing Association and meet regularly with a group of other members during the early part of the year with the aim of tending the river-banks, fixing bridges and fencing and generally ensuring the river is kept flowing through the stretch they are responsible for in order that members may fish safely and easily once the season starts.
Following recent high winds, a large tree had come down across the river and whilst the water was still flowing around it in places, albeit slowly, a raft of discarded rubbish from further upstream was growing and getting stuck behind the fallen tree.
Pete, in his waders had the dubious honour of balancing on the tree in order to remove some of the larger branches, thereby reducing the weight and making the task of moving the tree somewhat easier. Perryn, John and Ken were the muscle, taking the strain and making sure they fell the right way.
Slowly but surely, the tree was reduced to something more manageable. After some discussion, a plan was hatched. The guys would sever the trunk on the near-side bank and then float it across the river to tie it up on the other side. With the help of ropes and winches this was eventually achieved. The benefit of this is that it not only stops the tree from blocking the river again, but it will also protect the far bank from erosion.
Throughout the morning it really was a case of all hands to the pumps, everybody (including my octogenarian father-in-law and me on occasion) got on the end of the ropes and chainsaws to do their bit and clear the blockage in the river. And it wasn’t all about the offending tree either, a number of additional large branches and trunks were also removed from under the water, including a 12 foot length of spalted wood which really was quite beautiful.
For me, the saddest thing was that the guys couldn’t safely reach the bottles and bits of rubbish (due to the depth of the river) to remove them all before they floated downstream.
I should point out that none of the members are paid for doing this work, they do it in their own time and use their own tools and they do it for two reasons, to keep the river and its environment healthy and for the love of fly fishing and I think they did a brilliant job in a very short space of time and I’m happy I’ve been able to document their endeavours.
I’ve been surfing the Internet…did you know:
- Up to 15 million plastic bottles are used per day in the UK?
- That plastic and polystyrene can take hundreds of years to decompose?
- That approximately 60% of dustbin waste could be recycled? And almost 50% could be composted?
- That recycling a plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60w light bulb for nearly 3 hours? (I counted at least 20 plastic bottles in the slick of rubbish in the river).
I’m neither political nor am I a crusader by any stretch of the imagination, but I think my parents brought me up properly, teaching me to respect my surroundings and take my litter home. Perryn and I also try to recycle as much as we can…but I think we could do more.
We are custodians of our planet and are merely looking after it for the next generation – I’d like to hope my own generation will leave them something they can enjoy.
Until next time