A SHORT film has been created to urge people not to pollute Leicester’s rivers and waterways by dumping litter or other items harmful to wildlife.
Leicester City Council has worked with the Environment Agency and the University of Leicester to produce the film, entitled Respect our Rivers, highlighting the damage caused to the ecology of the River Soar by thoughtlessly discarded waste materials.
It is available online in a variety of languages and includes representatives from Leicester’s different faiths explaining the importance of disposing of ashes in the River Soar without causing harm.
The campaign follows on from a series of improvements which have been made to the tranquil site on the River Soar behind the National Space Centre, where a riverside platform has been designated by the Environment Agency for the scattering of ashes.
Work has been carried out to ensure the facilities are easily accessible, safe and clear, with improved signs ensuring mourners know to put only biodegradable material into water.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The River Soar is a haven for wildlife in the heart of the city, but ensuring it remains free of litter and other hazards involves an ongoing commitment by everyone to protect and preserve the river for future generations to enjoy.
“Our environmental volunteers go out on a range of boats to carry out weekly river cleaning sessions, which goes the extra mile to help keep the river clean and enable it to thrive as a haven for wildlife, as well as helping prevent flooding by removing trapped waste and debris.
“We have worked with the Environment Agency to operate a designated site for scattering of ashes, on a section of the River Soar near the National Space Centre, which was chosen because the natural features of the river at that point allow the ashes and other offerings such as flowers to disperse without causing any problem.
“However, it is essential to the future of the river’s wildlife that only biodegradable objects are put into the water – non-biodegradable objects can take years to break down, or even last a lifetime releasing pollutants into the water, causing harm to birds, animals and fish in the process.
“So as we approach summer, Respect our Rivers is there to remind people what they can do to help ensure our rivers look their best and stay free from pollution.”
The short film can be viewed at Leicester City Council's Youtube channel here.
Anyone wanting to join the Leicester Environmental Volunteers at their next river cleaning session can register at the city council's website here.