Lockdown DIY disasters ‘polluting NI waterways’

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has been investigating a number of ongoing water pollution incidents across Northern Ireland believed to be from home improvement efforts during the lockdown.

Thursday, 21st May 2020, 9:09 am
Environment Minister Edwin Poots

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has urged people not to damage the water environment when doing a spot of DIY or gardening at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During the current COVID-19 related restrictions, a number of water pollution incidents have been observed by the public and reported to NIEA, perhaps the result of people using the wrong drain when cleaning up after home decorating or gardening tasks during the lockdown,” Mr Poots explained.

“The pollution we’ve observed is most likely the result of the wastewater associated with painting, decorating, cleaning, plastering or doing something similar, being washed into the wrong drain and straight into the nearest river,” he said.

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It has not been possible to trace the source of these Low Severity pollution incidents due to the relatively short duration of the discharges. Tracing the sources at this time, whilst adhering to social distancing requirements, presents its own difficulties.

“I know people are taking this time to catch up on jobs around the house but please make sure disposing of the wastewater associated with these DIY jobs don’t damage your local river. It’s important we continue to protect and respect our environment during this time and these simple measures will help do just that,” Minister Poots added.