Places like this, where rubbish was dumped illegally, can be found more and more in the Ochtum lowlands. (Roland Scheitz)
“Illegal garbage is constantly being dumped here,” complains Birgit Olbrich from the Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), who stands at the bird-watching tower in Brokhuchting. Over time, there has been a steady increase in clandestine garbage disposal in the nature reserve.
“And that’s not just residual waste, it’s also commercial waste.” She has already found a load of car tires and “huge mountains of fruit and vegetables. There was also paint and even slaughterhouse waste. “There was, for example, the remains of a dead animal in the garbage bag, which could then be identified as a six to eight month old sheep based on the head that was still there.
From the convertible top to the complete kitchen
Torsten Horwege, who is in Kop in Huchting, also remembers this: “Containers with wood preservatives, a convertible top, old tires with rims, entire kitchens have been disposed of here,” he says. It is actually easy to get rid of the garbage properly. “Every citizen can order bulky waste for free, and there are landfills and recycling centers,” says Birgit Olbrich. “We don’t feel like clearing up other people’s rubbish anymore.”
The BUND people do that from time to time, “but this disposal also costs nature conservation money. And there are a lot of things you don’t want to transport at all. ”Torsten Horwege agrees:“ There are also containers with indefinable liquids around here and it’s hard to get rid of them. ”The disposal options were somewhat limited due to Corona, says Olbrich “But for me it is totally incomprehensible that you can do something like this”.
Fast food rubbish along the street
Meanwhile, you can see the consequences of eating quickly along the street: “Pizza boxes, packaging from fast-food restaurants, coffee-to-go cups – they are simply thrown out of the window and left there,” says Karin Menke from BUND. “And because of Corona that has become even more.” And if there is leftover food in the garbage and also in the dumped household garbage, another problem arises, Menke reports: “Then the garbage is torn apart by crows or foxes, and then the wind comes and the garbage flies over the grassland. “
This is also confirmed by the Stromer farmer Wilken Köhler, who cultivates some areas in the nature reserve: “You can also find yoghurt pots and plastic waste in the area.” And also glass that is overgrown by the grass at some point – “and when it is mowed over, it gets it in the cattle feed. ”Glass in cattle feed, that doesn’t sound good, neither does glass in the nest:“ There is a risk of injury from glass, plastic waste or cords. Storks sometimes take the plastic parts and rubbish into the nest and young storks can injure themselves or get stuck. “
It feels like it’s getting worse and worse
The problem is that taking away or hiring clearing companies is often more expensive than the fine if something is discovered: “We also look for addresses in the trash,” explains Olbrich, and you can also note down the license plate if you observe something . Torsten Horwege also says: “I have the feeling that it is getting worse and that you can hardly do anything.” The general public suffer from these idiots, Horwege sums it up. And the question of what could solve the problem would also affect the general public: “You could redesign the space here and make the parking area smaller,” Olbrich thinks, “or put boulders on it. On the other hand, you also need the space when clearing a ditch or when we have a bus here for public relations. “
She believes that this is the best place to watch birds because, for example, the blockland meadows are too far away. “We are now in the time when the resting activity is decreasing and the breeding activity is increasing. Before that, in winter, the birds have a protected space here and the first meadow breeders will arrive in mid-March. “
When the water is gone, you can’t get it back
The endangered lapwing can now be seen, but also the black godwit, which is also endangered, and the ruff. And many species of geese and ducks, snipes, herons and storks. “We then look at the area management to see how things are with the water. Breeding birds, for example, also need to be trapped in order to stand dry. ”The water is first dammed in the meadows and then drained off in a controlled manner – not that easy, says Olbrich:“ Once the water is gone, we won’t get it back. That is why we always have to see how much we drain. “
Karin Menke says: “We need water and moist areas where birds can poke and find food. We want to offer moist areas beyond the entire breeding season, i.e. until May and June. ”That is why a clean environment is necessary, because that is also the reality:“ The plastic parts are eaten, the birds are then full and starve. ”
Down to business
The 375 hectare area near Brokhuchting in the Huchting district has been a Natura 2000 area (EU bird sanctuary) and habitat with wet and wet grassland, ditches and swamps since 2003. The grassland area with a sequence of higher-lying grassland areas and lower-lying depressions is characterized by a dense network of ditches, polder areas, flowing waters, bank reeds and a high proportion of compensation areas. The bird observation tower offers a panoramic view of the flood plains, which are extensive from December to April. Resting waterbirds and waders can be observed undisturbed in the immediate vicinity, and in spring also breeding meadow birds such as lapwing, redshank or black godwit.