Ipswich: River Gipping has turned green!

IPSWICH: It extends as far as the eye can see – a vibrant green carpet covering a stretch of an Ipswich river.

The River Gipping, which runs from Mendlesham, is the source of the River Orwell.

But walkers out enjoying a stroll along the once picturesque banks of the river will today be mesmerised by the green invasion, a blanket engulfing the waterways.

Environmental experts have been out to test the water and have revealed the green cloak is in fact harmless duckweed.

Warm weather and areas of river where there is a low flow of water, create the perfect breeding ground for the stemless, aquatic flowering plant to thrive.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed there are three species of duckweed growing in the area.

She said: “This happens on the river every year and is a completely natural process caused by a population boom of the resident duckweed.

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“These tiny plants reproduce rapidly with the warm summer temperatures to completely cover the river.”

But she reassured walkers, dog owners and wildlife lovers the weed is not poisonous, like other types reported in other parts of the country.

Immersed underneath the expanding vibrant carpet, is a host of rubbish. It may be concealed, but it is filling up the stretch of river close to London Road and Yarmouth Road – causing further worry for those who treasure the river.

Lewis Tyler, secretary of the River Gipping Trust, said they are “very concerned” about the state of the river.

He said finding out who the owners of the river bed are is very difficult, meaning it is hard to know who is responsible for clearing up the area.

“I would encourage anyone, members of the public, local residents, visitors to take care, and clear up after themselves.

“Pick up your rubbish and please don’t dump items in the water, thinking someone else will clear them up.

“It is all of our responsibilities to make sure the river is cleared.”

Westgate councillor Carole Jones said she too is concerned and is supporting local people in their quest to clear up the river and boost the environment.

She said: “The next clean-up of the river is on September 11.

“We will definitely be doing something about it and having a really good clean-up.”

Volunteering group Greenways Countryside Project and Wild about Westgate will be helping.

n What do you think of the stretch of river? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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