It isn’t just plastic that pollutes rivers

Fast flow river

If you're in the process of tidying up your garden in preparation for winter, we're asking you to think carefully about how you dispose of your grass cuttings and garden waste.

“Some people think it’s acceptable to dump green waste in the countryside or throw it into rivers. But they have no idea the damage that this kind of practice can cause,” said Simon Hirst, River Holme Connections, River Steward.

“When garden grass cuttings get into rivers they break down. The organic matter starves the river of oxygen, which affects fish, invertebrates and other wildlife. Garden waste can also contain invasive or non-native species. The seeds spread downstream and colonise river banks, pushing out native plants,” added Simon.

As green waste is plant material, people are often unaware that it’s classed as fly tipping. Anyone caught dumping garden waste on public land or in rivers can face significant fines (up to £50,000 or a 5-year jail sentence in the most severe cases).

Simon’s advice is:

“One of the biggest things that people can do to help take care of their river is to dispose of garden waste and grass cuttings responsibly. Take them to a refuse collection point or put them in your own composter.”

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