Black bags removed from polluted Midlothian river

Scottish Water has now lifted black bags full of litter it collected from the Mary Burn, after complaints they were left scattered on the banks.

Bags that have been dumped on  the banks of the Mary Burn,  full of wet wipes, face  wipes and sanitary towels.
Bags that have been dumped on the banks of the Mary Burn, full of wet wipes, face wipes and sanitary towels.

Local plumber Colin Birrell, who runs CC Plumbing, told the Advertiser of his disgust at discovering the black bags scattered around the river near Easthouses, particularly given Scottish Water’s public campaign via the Advertiser to keep local waterways clean.

Speaking before they were removed, he said: “The black bags have been there for about a month. They have tried to bury half of them in the woods. There is well over 100 of them.

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“I don’t disagree with Scottish Water that there is a problem with people putting stuff down the toilet.

Black bags at the Mary Burn.

“But these black bags full of these items are everywhere. It’s all the way down the banking.

“There is a chace the items could actually end up falling back into the river. Some of the black bags have been ripped open.

“They have cleaned the burn but put the mess in the surrounding woods.

“It’s an absolute disgrace.”

The dumping of black bags full of waste was not the only issue Colin had with Scottish Water regarding the Mary Burn.

He said: “They have also not flushed the water. There is nothing stopping them doing that. The water in the burn is still contaminated

“Yes they have taken out the wet wipes, face wipes, sanitary towels etc. But the water is still disgusting. The smell is revolting.”

A spokesman for Scottish Water insisted it always intended to remove the black bags, he said: “Our contractors have been cleaning up items in the Mary Burn and the bags which were left behind were scheduled for collection over the weekend and have now been removed.

Some of the bags were open.

“We understand that someone coming across the bags in the woodland near the burn might have found this alarming, however we were always returning to collect the bags as part of the clean-up.

“We are also continuing to investigate the surface water system, looking for cross connections which may contribute to dirty water entering the burn.”