Should we stop feeding the swans for the sake of littering?

By Chloe Atkinson

It is common to see the public feed the swans and ducks by the canal side, just as it is common to see the public leave their waste there. Canals and rivers in the UK generate a lot of waste per year because of it.

Charities such as the Canal and River Trust has launched campaigns to eradicate waste to protect the wildlife and the environment, however little comment has been made by the local council on the matter.

With this in mind, is there an issue with feeding the swans and ducks, or is there an issue with the lack of resources to throw away waste alongside the canal path?

Residents of Leicester have this to say:

Borsa Albert Christian, 47: “The swans feel better for being fed by people and they trust humans for it. Just like dogs, they know that we are good people for feeding them. They are only eating our scraps so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Jessica Edmonds, 41: “It is nice to feed the swans; it is a good activity for children. There is no provision for litter bins, but by Leicester College groups of people tie black bin bags to the trees and the council will take them away. I think that adding more bin will help with the litter problem.”

Eric Dutton Hall, 83: “The way I look at it, if it is a benefit to people in the past then it is a benefit to people now. Little boys and girls like to be taken to the park to feed the swans and ducks. It is very common to do it. The ambience of the park and feeding them is a traditional childhood memory.”

Considering this, Canal and River Trust encourages visitors to pick up plastic whenever they visit to reduce the waste that is in the water and it should be encouraged more in Leicester as litter remains an issue.

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