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Unsightly legacy of those who abuse our West London waterway
EALING Times reader Gini Moore, a regular cyclist along the Grand Union Canal towpath, was so disgusted with the amount of litter she saw on a recent ride into London that she sent a series of photos to us, to highlight the problem.
She complained to the Canal and River Trust, which brought some initial action, but is keen to show readers the unpleasant legacy that some irresponsible people leave behind.
She told us: “There is something quite serene and calming about cycling on the towpath.
"Getting back to nature, seeing the swans, birds and ducks, breathing in the fresh air and sometimes getting a waft of the bakery at Park Royal as I cycle past.
“Towpath cycling is also highly recommended for pondering life’s questions. Most of the time, by your journey’s end you have the answer!
“I cycle on the towpath regularly and thoroughly enjoy each and every ride. My usual route takes me from Horsenden Hill bridge 15a towards the direction of Ladbroke Grove.
“I usually ride to Great Porta Bella Dock No 2, which is in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and then take a quick tea break at Sainsbury’s cafe before heading back.
“It was on my usual cycle ride that I noticed there was an abundance of pollution in the canal. I hadn’t recalled the canal being in this appalling condition previously.
“This unsettled me because I enjoy watching the canal wildlife as I cycle past. I felt that, if this appalling site was affecting me, then surely it would be affecting the wildlife, too.
“On my ride back, I decided to take photographs on my phone. I photographed lots of scenes, including a football, a red coat, bottles, beer cans, lots of plastic bags, carrier bags, fast food takeaway cartons, black bin liners, heavy duty cardboard packaging, clothes and food packaging among the debris.
“Shockingly I photographed two dead ducks along the route, one of which was covered in debris.
“I was concerned about the effect this pollution was having on the wildlife, so I contacted the Canal and River Trust, a charity, who, I believe do a sterling job looking after our canals.
“I believe they are doing the best they can, but I do feel they are fighting a losing battle.
“A week after I had reported the pollution incident, I noticed an improvement, but there is still much more that needs to be done to make it a healthier environment for wildlife.
“The Inland Waterways Association has the right idea. It recently organised a large-scale clean-up on the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes.
"Perhaps our local council could organise a more regular clean-up of this stretch. “It is important not to use the canals and waterways as a dumping ground for rubbish and effluent to ensure the longevity of canal wildlife and the environment.
“It is high time that serious thought was put into the policing of the canal and towpath. As the canal is away from the public eye, it encourages wrongdoers to tip their rubbish into it.
“It is the same criminal activity that incurs a penalty fine if observed in your local high street.
“It wouldn’t cost a lot for notices to be erected along the Grand Union, advising walkers to take their rubbish home with them as well as provide contact numbers for pollution incidents.”
What do you think? Have you encountered similar incidents? If so, write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can publish your views.