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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK
Divers in river rubbish clear-up
Dumped trolley
Dumped trolleys are a regular feature of the river
A diving team is moving in this weekend to clean up a litter-strewn stretch of river in Ipswich.

For many visitors the first glimpse of the town is what from a distance seems a beautiful and tranquil stretch of the River Orwell.

But close up the mess is all too clear when the tide goes out.

The river is strewn with abandoned bicycles, dumped supermarket trolleys and a mountain of discarded metal.

Among the clean-up team moving in over the weekend are divers Craig Bickers and Gary Moore.

Scouring the murky depths will be a challenge but the clean up is part of an international project, Project Aware, to clear waterways.

"It's not very nice at all. It's road cones, shopping trolleys, council signs, bricks ... all the rubbish has just been dumped in by people who are spoiling it for everyone," said Craig.

River diver Craig Bickers
Craig Bickers is doing the clear-up as part of Project Aware
The dumping is not only irritating it also illegal.

The fly-tippers face hefty fines of up to 20,000. The worst offenders can be jailed.

"Unfortunately there are people out there who think it is funny to take shopping trolleys and throw them into the river just for the hell of it," said David Knagg, of the Environment Agency.

"It's one of the blights of town centre rivers, unfortunately."

The divers are doing it for the environment.

"This is a lovely area. There's lots of birds and wildlife, but at low when you come to see it as it is at the moment it is disappointing. You can't believe people can do this," Craig said.

The work gets under way on Saturday and the team is asking for volunteer helpers.

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