Littering of a watercourse in north-west England

Williams, I. D. and Deakin, Nick. (2007) Littering of a watercourse in north-west England. Municipal Engineer 160, (ME4), 201-207. (doi:10.1680/muen.160.4.201).


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The deposition of litter and rubbish is an increasingly
significant environmental problem, with the dumping of
shopping trolleys in rivers and canals impacting on flora,
fauna and river management in some areas. The Mersey
Basin Campaign (MBC) identified Skelmersdale in the
north-west of England, and the River Tawd in particular, as
a ‘hot spot’ for the dumping of shopping trolleys. In this
study, methods for performing litter and shopping trolley
surveys were developed. A survey of the River Tawd was
performed during 2002, together with snapshot social
surveys of local adults and children. Comprehensive yet
simple methodologies to quantify and report litter and
trolley accumulation over time are reported. The study
successfully quantified the litter accumulation and
numbers of shopping trolleys in the commercial sector of
Skelmersdale and established the views of the local
population. Pedestrian litter was the most abundant type
identified, with the quantity of litter associating well with
the presence of urban features. The shopping trolley
survey identified local ‘hot spots’ and established the total
number of shopping trolleys along a 1250 m stretch of the
river. The first survey in April 2002 found 79 trolleys, which
increased to 105 by July 2002. The river would probably not
have been cleaned without the intervention of MBC,
emphasising the importance of community and voluntary
groups to the maintenance of local environmental quality.
The presence of shopping trolleys and general refuse in the
river presented a negative view of water quality to the
public, highlighting the importance of loss of visual
amenity as a perceived indicator of pollution. The study
also identifies the social and environmental impacts of
dumping shopping trolleys in watercourses and explains
why physical barriers were the most successful means of
reducing the dumping of trolleys.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1680/muen.160.4.201
ISSNs: 0965-0903 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences
ePrint ID: 53173
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
April 2007Published
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:31

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