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Stowmarket pond in the spotlight after duckling spotted choking on plastic




Worried residents are calling for action after spotting a duckling choking on plastic in a pond.

The residents in Stowmarket say littering in and around the pond off Gainsborough Road, close to Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, is now out of control.

And in an ‘emergency bid’ to help solve the situation, they grouped together last Sunday and collected eight bags of litter.

James Wass, left, and Colin Lay, who are leading the campaign. Picture by Mark Westley
James Wass, left, and Colin Lay, who are leading the campaign. Picture by Mark Westley

“In the past we have found everything from broken bottles, to crisp packets, footballs and even a bike,” said clean-up campaigner, James Wass, 28.

"The other day when I went to feed the ducks with my girlfriend, we spotted a duckling choking on a piece of white plastic and were horrified."

"I live close the pond and it has been bad for a least two years and has now got even worse. The problem of people littering is just absolutely awful - please stop.”

Sharri McGarry, of Stow Eco Future group, and others helped with the litter clearance on Sunday.
Sharri McGarry, of Stow Eco Future group, and others helped with the litter clearance on Sunday.

Mr Wass, an employment coach, says he has complained to Mid Suffolk District Council ‘many times’ about the issue.

“Each time they say it is out of their control and that they have volunteers who ‘do what they can’.

"They spend millions on things that aren’t necessary but won’t spend any time on something that desperately needs attention - our wildlife, and ecology.”

On Sunday, they were aided by Stow Eco Future co-ordinator Sharri McGarry, who said: “We are in a biodiversity crisis, with 41 per cent of UK species declining and one in 10 is threatened with extinction.

An overflowing bin near the pond last Sunday. Picture Stow Eco Future Group
An overflowing bin near the pond last Sunday. Picture Stow Eco Future Group

"The UK government’s self-assessment said it failed on two-thirds of targets agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan in 2010.

"Significant failures include insufficient funding for nature conservation, too little land being managed for nature, and declining wildlife populations.

"In the past decade, funding for UK wildlife and the environment has dropped by 30 per cent the equivalent of £250m.

"If the council can’t even manage a town duck pond...if people can litter with impunity and watch ducklings choking on their rubbish.....what hope have we got of reversing this biodiversity loss?”

A spokesperson from Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “We’d like to thank the residents who recently went litter picking near Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre.

"We share their frustration of the issues caused by people being irresponsible with their litter, especially so, when this rubbish could have been placed in one of the four bins all within a few meters of the pond which are emptied twice weekly, or taken litter home after a visit.

"We’re always happy to provide support, advice, equipment and waste collections to help tackle this issue, and already have an amazing more than 100-strong ‘army’ of litter pickers across our districts.

"While we haven’t received any formal reports of overflowing bins on this site to date, if any residents would like to see additional or larger bins installed, we would strongly encourage them to speak to their local town or parish council.

"In the meantime, we will explore how we may be able to best work with local partners to keep the site as a place for everyone to enjoy, while protecting and strengthening Mid Suffolk’s rich biodiversity.

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