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Wales shares waterway ideas with European neighbour

Wales has traded ideas with a European neighbour as it seeks to cut the 1,000 tonnes of debris that floods Cardiff Bay each year. 

As part of an Interreg (European Funding) Exchange Programme with Keep Wales Tidy, a small party from Catalonia has visited the waterfront area.

The move was designed to share best practice and demonstrate to the visitors from the Centre for the Study of Mediterranean Rivers and Llobregat River Park how the Cardiff Harbour Authority (CHA) and Keep Wales Tidy work at ground level.

While awareness about the impact of litter on the environment is growing in many domains, it is felt that more needs to be done to make the public mindful of the effect it has on waterways.

An average of 1,000 tonnes of debris flood down from the rivers Taff and Ely into Cardiff Bay every year with CHA environment crews working actively on both land and water to remove rubbish from these areas each day.

The equipment used in operations include a floating bulldozer called the Water Witch and a floating collection boom, with the visitors transported by water bus along the River Taff and taught about how the waterways are cleaned and how the public is educated.

Keep Wales Tidy chief executive Tegryn Jones said: We can all benefit from sharing our experiences and learning about good practice. Wales and Cardiff Bay is particularly effective at supporting groups to look after their own local area. As a result of this visit hopefully this good practice can assist working in Catalonia.

Around 50 tonnes of the litter is in the form of clean and bulky timber, and instead of disposing of this in landfill, it is used to fuel a biomass boiler at the Harbour Authoritys environment building.

While this forms part of Cardiff Councils wider commitment to renewable energy and sustainability, the work already undertaken at the bay is a source of great pride.

Cardiff Council executive member for sport, leisure and culture Nigel Howells said: Land and water are finite resources we cannot afford to take for granted. Wherever possible, natural habitats should be protected and preserved.

We are fiercely proud of the work undertaken in Cardiff Bay, ensuring the environment of the rivers and bay water are maintained to the highest possible standards.

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