The recent reports of fish being killed on the Aire and Calder Canal once again raises the issue of ‘green on green’ environmental problems. And it’s a serious and recurring problem!
In this instance, it’s the use of large commercial barges to move aggregate along the canal. The barges are allegedly mincing fish with their propellers. There will be arguments about causation, but the consensus is that prior to the barges being used, minced-up dead fish weren’t seen. After it started, they were. To add more weight to the argument, the canal has had a breach recently, the barges stopped and so did the deaths.
On the face of it, reducing the number of lorries on the roads and thus reducing pollution and congestion is a great idea. Environmentalists hail it as a success. However, when you consider the heavy oils used by the barges, plus the fact that there have already been spills, pollution and bird rescues, the picture isn’t as green as it would seem.
It’s not the first time where an idea that is seemingly environmentally friendly has the unintended consequence of being the opposite in a different context. We seem to be stuck in a rut of these ‘green on green’ disasters. Blocking the migration routes of bream (as per the Hoveton Broad story) allows more aquatic plants to grow but stops fish breeding. Hydropower stations are great for ‘sustainable’ electricity but horrendous for fish populations.
Everyone seems to come at a problem with their own green agenda, but fish are very often left off it.