MAJOR concerns have been raised over the environmental impact of a large pile of rubbish that has been dumped in the River Croal.
More than 30 bags filled with soil — believed to be the remnants of a cannabis farm — have been deposited beneath a footbridge which passes over the river at the bottom of Gilnow Lane.
And the rubbish is visible to passing residents, including children on their way to school.
A resident described the sight as “an absolute mess” and called for action to be taken.
Andrew Mulraney, who lives in Halliwell, said he regularly sees household waste dumped along this section of the river.
Mr Mulraney, aged 51, said: “I know other residents are also sick of people dumping rubbish everywhere. It is an absolute mess.
“There are at least 25 bags of soil that have been dumped. I’m no expert but it seems this soil has been used for growing cannabis. The smell is very distinct; it’s disgusting.”
He added: “My main concern is where all these bags of soil are going to end up. It could cause blockages. There is wildlife and ducks in the river that could be affected. This soil could be contaminated. There is a lot of risk.
“There are also young children walking to school along these footpaths who have to look at it.”
It is not known whether any residents had reported the fly-tipped rubbish, which is spilling into the river.
The Environment Agency encouraged residents to report issues to them, and said that its officers would clear the rubbish if it is causing a blockage.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We advise anyone who sees an environmental issue to report it to our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
“The Environment Agency is now aware of this issue and our Greater Manchester Operations Team will clear the bags if they are causing a blockage in the River Croal.”
The Bolton News has reported on numerous cases of fly-tipping along the River Croal, including at the bottom of Spa Road.
Fly-tipping carries a maximum penalty of £50,000.
A spokesman for Bolton Council said: “Those who use our public spaces as their own personal dumping grounds are showing a reckless disregard for Bolton residents and our natural environment.
“The council has made tackling this problem a top priority and we work hard on both prevention and bringing those responsible to account.
“In particular, we work closely with our partners in the Environment Agency to keep our rivers and waterways clean.
“In the last month alone, we secured several prosecutions for flytipping and other waste offences, forcing those responsible to pay thousands of pounds in fines.”
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