A GROUP dedicated to keeping Bradford's rivers clean are calling for volunteers to become pollution spotters.

The Friends of Bradford's Becks (FOBB) say that while our becks, rivers and seas should be a haven for wildlife, the city's becks are frequently polluted by sewage and industrial waste. They say that in recent years, Bradford Beck has turned orange, black and white.

The blueish-grey discolouration that is often visible is down to sewage from misconnected drains or leaking sewers.

Sediment pollution from construction sites is often seen and blankets the bed, damaging the habitat for invertebrates and fish. In addition there were major fish kills in 2009 and 2018.

FOBB are determined to find out where this pollution is coming from by setting up PollutionWatch. They are looking for willing volunteers to help by becoming pollution spotters for the rest of 2020.

The volunteers would need to visit the same spot on the beck at least three times a week, take a photo and upload it with notes to a specially-designed smartphone app.

Visits can be at any time when it isn’t raining heavily and can be on different days and times each week. If a volunteer is busy or away one, week, then they can just skip that week.

PollutionWatch will be run by Barney Lerner and Robert Hellawell from FOBB, and is being set up in collaboration with Yorkshire Water, which has two major studies of Bradford’s sewage starting in April.

The idea is that Yorkshire Water will investigate all the pollution sources which are reported. FOBB will also report any serious problems to the Environment Agency, who could potentially take action against anyone caught polluting the beck.

Rob Hellawell, also known as the Urban Pollution Hunter, said “We will provide training for the spotters and briefings on their sites to visit. There will be regular get-togethers for the spotters to share experiences and hear how the project is going, so come along and be part of the team making a difference to the city and its people.”

Barney Lerner, chairman of FOBB, said “If you walk your dog near one of the becks, or cycle along the Canal Road greenway, or just fancy a quick stroll every now and then, you can help us do PollutionWatch.

"We have some rewards for spotters, and will be running a monthly photo competition for the best pictures of one of the becks.”

George Cowell, pollution strategy manager at Yorkshire Water said: “Helping to keep Yorkshire’s rivers and becks clean is a key priority for us and we have a big programme of work ongoing at the moment to help reduce pollution.

"PollutionWatch is a great way of working together with the community to help reduce the risk of pollution incidents in Bradford Beck by having eyes on the ground doing regular checks.

"Reporting sewage escapes to us as soon as you spot it is really important so we can get it investigated.”

To find out more, email BradfordsBecks@gmail.com. A briefing which was due to be held at Jurys Inn, Thornton Road, from 7pm to 8:30pm on Monday, March, 23, has been cancelled.