IT HAS been a gruelling 12 weeks for the Wye and Usk Foundation, but finally their efforts to clean up the river Wye have paid off.
Known as the “Big Upper Wye Litter Clear Up”, the project began in February when groups of volunteers organised by the WUF donated their time and efforts to help clear up the upper river Wye, supported by Keep Wales Tidy and the River Wye Preservation Trust.
They began at the river’s source at Pumlumon and worked their way through 100 miles of river, through Builth Wells and including the tributary streams.
The aim was to raise awareness to the amount of rubbish and other pollutants being allowed to enter the highly protected river Wye.
A total of 123 volunteers were involved in the project, including anglers, canoeists, wildlife enthusiasts, walkers and others with an interest in the Wye.
647 sacks of litter and larger items were removed from 103 miles of river and stream, including objects such as a car radiator, a lawnmower and a deep freeze, and even several drums containing agricultural and mechanical chemicals that damage the aquatic environment.
The collected litter was picked up and, where possible, recycled by Powys County Council.
Rachel Palmer of Keep Wales Tidy said: “By working together we have achieved something that none of us could have managed alone.
“The volunteers have been absolutely fantastic.
“As well as cleaning up over 100 miles of river, the activity has raised awareness of the surprising levels of waste in an apparently clean rural river system.”
Tony Norman, the Foundation trustee managing the campaign, said: “It has been a delight to get to know the country so well in such a beautiful part of Wales.
“But, it is tinged with regret that the pristine water that falls on those hills is marred by the careless behaviour of a few people.”
Litter clearing efforts will not stop at the end of this project.
For more information and the help volunteer, contact 07717 497442 or rachel.palmer@keep walestidy.org