Popular beauty spot and wildlife haven falls victim to thousands plastic debris left by February floodwaters.
As Nottingham residents know, the February floods brought on by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis caused a great deal of destruction in certain areas. But as the flood waters receded and everyone went back to their slightly drier everyday lives, the water had left behind hordes of plastic residue at Attenborough Nature Reserve.
In just one hour, one of the reserve’s nature centre staff collected more than a thousand tiny pieces of plastic left by flood debris.
The Reserve seemed to have been hit on the lighter side from the harsh weather. The centre was temporarily closed during the worst period of flooding which covered the car park but quickly reopened within a couple of days. However, the plastic waste left behind has caused more problems as it has affected wildlife.
Head of communications at the Trust, Erin McDaid, said: “Despite having to close the Nature Centre for a couple for days and many of the footpaths being inaccessible we thought we’d got off lightly in terms of the flooding at Attenborough Nature Reserve.
“But as the flood waters have receded, many areas are covered in sickening amounts of discarded plastic items and an unimaginable number of small plastic fragments.
“A member of our team collected around 1,000 pieces from just one spot and there were many pieces simply too small to pick up.
“He also saw a swan ingest at least one small piece of plastic which is very distressing.
“As well as being popular with visitors Attenborough is a nationally important wildlife area so this is both distressing and depressing. While more and more people are aware of the damage plastic is doing to our environment, we are still using far too many disposable plastic items and discarding too much plastic waste.
The Trust believes the plastic is likely to have washed down or been disturbed from sediment in both the River Trent and River Erewash.
Volunteer litter pick
Due to the excessive plastic litter issue, the Nottingham Wildlife Trust organised a two-part litter pick on Friday 13th March inviting members of the public to come along and help to reduce the potential harm on the wildlife.
Nottingham Local News editor Dani and photographer Mark went along to record what happened, and of course lend a helping hand.
An incredible 70 members of the public attended the first round of litter picking, which took place from 10 – 12pm and just as many came to the 2pm – 4pm session. Hundreds of bags of plastic and litter were collected from the shores of Attenborough Nature Reserve, all of which were kindly removed by Broxtowe Borough Council.
Thank you to all those who volunteered their time.