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Letter to the editor: litter is a constant problem at Ebley Meadow

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Sir, Stroud District Council’s excellent conservation work on Ebley Meadow, including the planting of saplings and clearing of hogweed, risks being undermined if nothing is done to tackle the perennial problem of litter down at the double weir.

Every year the problem gets worse: even during lockdown, whilst my wife and I were on our mandated daily walk, there were scores of young people (and, to our surprise, adults) down there, jumping in the river, drinking, making fires and ultimately leaving litter. At one point the area next to the weir looked like the aftermath of a festival, with discarded towels, broken fold-up chairs and popped footballs scattered around, both on the grass and in the river.

The recent nice weather combined with the Easter break showed a glimpse of what’s bound to come, come the summer holidays. As we walked through the meadow, reaching the weir, we saw the all-too-familiar sight of litter (cans, bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers etc) starting to build up. We happened to have a plastic bag with us, so did the responsible thing and tidied up. But it really is trying to hold back the tide.

I think we can forget trying to stop kids from gathering down there- it’s every night during the summer, and would amount to a waste of police and council time. I do think, however, that the addition of a bin on the cycle path next to the weir area might encourage the more environmentally conscious to at least properly dispose of their rubbish- the meadow is looking the best it ever has, it would be a terrible shame to see it ruined. I am also worried about damage to the saplings; let’s just hope that the kids have more sense than to do something silly like uprooting them in the name of ‘entertainment’.

Mark Sharrock, Ebley

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