CHILDREN from primary schools in Salcombe and West Alvington placed yellow fishes on drains last week to try to cut pollution – but they have now gone missing.
As part of the international ‘Yellow Fish’ campaign, the markers were placed on drains to remind people that many are directly linked to their nearest natural watercourse, but they have recently been removed by unknown persons.
South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty estuaries officer Nigel Mortimer, who worked with the children, said: ‘They were really proud of helping their community and now they are so disappointed. The scheme highlights the link between the health of the waters downstream with how we care for them upstream.
‘The children learnt about the incredible variety of water life right on their doorstep, from what’s found in their local streams to the hidden depths off the coast. They also learnt how much this life supports us and how, with a little knowledge and effort, it’s so simple to care for.’
In Kingsbridge and Salcombe the closest watercourse is the estuary. As well as being the home of particularly rich and unusual communities of wildlife, the estuary is also popular for water sports.
Gaby Leo, class teacher at Salcombe Primary, said: ‘The children thoroughly enjoyed taking part and helping their local community.’
Road drains should only receive rainwater, as they often drain to their nearest stream, pond, estuary or beach. These are places people would not dream of littering, but often don’t make the connection with drains.
The drain markers help deliver the message ‘Only Rain Down The Drain – Flows to Estuary’. Cigarette butts are a prime example, and to make matters worse their filters are actually made of plastic, so they don’t rot away and are full of chemicals that have proven to be toxic to some water life.
Groups of children from each school helped Nigel to glue the markers down with special mastic, and since this took place during National Science Week 2016, the children dressed up as young scientists to protect them from the black, sticky mastic.
Kingsbridge Mayor Councillor Wayne Grills said: ‘The removal of the yellow fish in Kingsbridge is very disappointing, I would ask that if anyone happened to find a fish markers after a night out to drop it into the Town Council offices.’
Sergeant Dave Green, Kingsbridge Police, said: ‘We have been briefed on what these markers symbolise and are keeping our eyes out for them’.