Trained volunteers use the Cardiff Rivers aluminium boat to pick up more rubbish from the water. Image credit: Cardiff Rivers.

Volunteers set sail to clear rubbish from the city’s rivers

But Cardiff Rivers Group says Welsh Water is ‘totally wiping out’ its efforts to keep them clean

ABOUT 40 volunteers gathered at Radyr Weir, some taking to the water in a boat, to litter pick in and around the river.

Cardiff Rivers Group organises litter picking events in and around the city every week. At its latest gathering at Radyr Weir, the volunteers collected 59 bags of rubbish from the river and its banks, including sanitary towels, wet wipes and nitrous oxide canisters.

Some climbed aboard Cardiff Rivers’ aluminium boat to pick up litter that couldn’t be reached from the banks.

Cardiff Rivers volunteers meet regularly to clean up the Taff. Credit: Cardiff Rivers

However, the group says that sewage being released into rivers is hampering its attempt to keep the water clean.

Nigel Barry, the group’s secretary, said: “Releasing raw sewage into the Taff and other rivers should cease immediately. We spend years improving the quality of the rivers in Cardiff only to see our efforts totally wiped out every time. The government needs to step in and stop it.”

The spillages of raw sewage occur when Welsh Water’s sewers become overburdened and release dirty water directly into rivers. 

Mr Barry said the public should also be more aware of what they flush down the toilet.

“Some ladies need to rethink their disposal techniques for sanitary products. They need to imagine wild water swimming in the Taff and being faced with a floating, used sanitary towel – a sobering thought,” he said.

Volunteers often find sanitary products in and around rivers. Credit: YGC Rebel Mams

The group also finds thousands of nitrous oxide canisters around Cardiff each year, which volunteers need to process to make them safe to recycle.

This involves emptying the cannisters by hand, removing the brass valves and cutting the cannisters in half to check they are completely empty.

Nitrous oxide canisters have to be made safe before being recycled. Credit: Cardiff Rivers
  • Anyone interested in volunteering with Cardiff Rivers Group can sign up or subscribe to event emails to stay up to date. Cardiff Rivers can provide litter-picking equipment but volunteers should wear suitable outdoor clothing and wellies.