Plastic bottles entangled in briars, a container full of milk, beer cans and other pieces of litter float along the shores of Lough Erne this week amid a Europe-wide campaign to tackle plastic waste following David Attenborough’s final Blue Planet II programme revealed how plastic is slowly killing our sea creatures, fish and birds.

The sight of the litter floating along the shore, close to the path near Portora school, prompted one social media user to post about the problem on the Enniskillen family, friends and neighbours facebook page.
Marilyn Robinson said she was “horrified” by the amount of empty plastic bottles along the shore. “Sir David Attenborough highlighted the issue of plastic and the effects it is having on the planet worldwide in the award-winning series Blue Planet II. It doesn’t seem to have hit home in Fermanagh,” she wrote.

In response, many locals voiced their anger at the sight and made various suggestion as to what can be done to stop household litter ending up in our waterways.

“Plastic bottles should have a deposit on them; we have already seen the effect a small charge on plastic bags has had,” suggested Kevin Chaffey.
Treacy Breen said “it’s the same around Erneside. Disgusting.” While Anne Mooney pointed out that litter is a problem at Cornagrade too, saying: “We have a shopping trolley and a mattress there as well!”
Vmit Lame’s appeal for people to “please put bottles in your bag and bring them home,” received a lot of support.

David Gregg said there are not enough bins along that particular path but added: “Still inexcusable for just throwing [litter] at their backside.”
Doreen Mullan said the litter shows a “disgusting lack of regard for the environment and those tasked with clean up.”
Karen Applehouse said: “This is what our rates should deal with - clearing up and keeping the area nice for us and for visitors.”
The Impartial Reporter asked Fermanagh and Omagh District Council – which has powers to protect and improve the quality of the environment for our local community – if it has responsibility for cleaning up this mess, would it consider placing more bins along the pathway and what evidence it needs to administer a fine for littering. 

In response, a spokesman said: "Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is responsible for the removal of litter along the shore line in the vicinity of the island of Enniskillen. This is undertaken on a routine basis throughout the year by Council staff and volunteers.

"The area outside the island is not the responsibility of the Council and is the responsibility of the individual landowners within their own boundaries."

He explained that individuals have to be seen dropping litter or if the Council comes across litter that includes named items such as letters, in order for it to issue a littering fine.

"Fermanagh and Omagh District Council  encourages individuals to take their litter home or to use the rubbish bins located in respective areas. The Council  provides an adequate number of bins throughout the district to dispose of litter responsibly," he said.

Cleaning up litter "contributes to a large part of the Council’s expenditure annually," the spokesman pointed out.

He called for "a more responsible attitude to the disposal of litter" which "would help free resources which could be used to support other services."

Meanwhile, the EU is planning to modernise plastic production to ensure that every piece of packaging on the continent is reusable or recyclable by 2030.