Shock as dead geese found in filthy lake at Small Heath Park
There has been shock and growing anger from Birmingham residents after dead geese were discovered floating in a “filthy” lake inside Small Heath Park over the weekend.
A visitor to the park was so disturbed by the scene, she photographed the dead geese which were floating in the once famous boating lake on Sunday afternoon, and posted the images online.
Small Heath residents were left aghast after photographs were shared on a Facebook group called Small Heath News.
The distressing pictures show two Canadian geese floating lifeless in the waters of the lake, which appears dirty and foul in the snaps, with fallen leaves clogging the surface of the water.
Discarded fast food wrappers, and other waste material, can also be seen floating near the carcasses of the dead birds.
Visitors to the park have also reported sightings of a turtle in the mucky waters. According to local residents, the lake is in serious need of a clean.
Aisha Medina, who took the pictures of the dead geese, said: “Small Heath Park Pond… Full of rubbish. People using it as a dumping ground! Two dead ducks!
“This is disgusting… What have we become?
“I’m ashamed of the lack of humanity within us…”
Regular park visitor Shadia Noor told I Am Birmingham: “The lake is a health hazard. No ifs or buts. It’s really vile.
“The water in that lake looks unsafe for the wildlife, and its getting worse every time I walk past it. You can actually smell the lake before you reach it. The summer months were horrendous.”
Police diving units were called in June after concerns that a body had been spotted in the lake. Thankfully, a police forensics team confirmed it was debris and rubbish in the water and no human remains were found.
However, the concerns about the negative impact to wildlife from irresponsible visitors to the park who leave behind plastic trash is growing as local community groups find the remains of birds while carrying out litter picks in the park. The dead birds sometimes end up being eaten by stray cats and the bodies left to decompose on the grass.
Doreen Litchfield expressed her concerns about public health issues on the Small Heath News page.
“I wonder what would happen if a child fell in the dirty pond what infectious disease he could catch and as a matter of health and safety if the smell is so bad surely this is a health hazard, and needs cleaning now,” she said.
The condition of the lake in Small Heath Park has deteriorated dramatically but it appears no cleanup operation has been carried out by Birmingham City Council environmental services, despite residents reportedly demanding action from Small Heath councillors.
Writing on the Small Heath News page, local residents are also hoping that visitors to the park will stop littering and make the place safer and cleaner for the wildlife.
Maxwell Moore wrote: “Why don’t people just put their rubbish in the bin?”
Rifat Asghar-Hussain commented on the irresponsible manner in which rubbish is thrown away: “I’ve seen people just throw rubbish out of their cars like it’s normal.. what’s wrong with everyone?!
“Teach your children respect for the environment. This cycle must stop.”
Local community groups have been arranging litter pickups over the summer but the problem remains acute. Within days of a cleanup operation, the litter piles up again.
Myrah Dah Smylah Rosie wrote: “Every time I always see lots of volunteers using their own time cleaning up the park, come the weekend it’s back to how it was.”
“This is so sad that these poor ducks died in this dirtiness.”
Speaking to I Am Birmingham, he said: “The Waste Warriors have carried out several cleanups in the park this year. The bins in the park are always overflowing and need to be emptied more regularly.
“There’s been a massive increase in the amount of rubbish left behind by visitors during the lockdown, and antisocial activity is also rife in parts of the park.
“Some of the dangerous waste is near the small children’s play area. The Waste Warriors team has safely cleared away used needles, condoms, bottles and cans, but it’s a real shock to see the dead geese in the lake.
“Absolutely heartbreaking to see these gorgeous birds lying dead in that foul water.”
“We don’t have any specialist equipment to clean the lake itself, and we need more support from Birmingham City Council to carry out some of the work we’re doing,” he added.
“We love this city and we love this park. We grew up here. This lake used to have boats, and there was a paddling pool for little kids which has been grassed over. We also had a real community spirit in the park with people doing their bit to inspire the kids.
“Now there’s litter everywhere and the Park Keeper’s lodge is all boarded up and derelict. There’s total neglect in the park, and now during this season we’re seeing autumn leaves ending up in the lake and folk dumping trash from the local takeaways into the lake.
“If this carries on, we’re looking at an environmental catastrophe in the lake. The dead geese are a warning for us to take quick action.
“Despite the lockdown I’ll try and source some equipment and see if The Waste Warriors can carry out a cleanup. We need more locals to come forward and take an active part in making sure this park is safe for humans and wildlife.”
Zaffar Kamal, who lives near the park, expressed his horror at seeing pictures of the dead geese.
“The death of those poor geese is probably because of the plastic bags and trash thrown in the lake by careless and lazy people,” he told I Am Birmingham.
“Those poor birds may have suffocated on the plastic bags and fast food cartons.
“And it makes me angry to see some folk feeding the ducks and pigeons with mouldy bread. The poor birds can’t digest the bread and it attracts rats!”
“I was really upset to see this happen right on my doorstep. The ducks and geese in the park bring so much grace and beauty to our area.
“The lake in Small Heath Park is like a sanctuary for the birds and it needs regular care and attention from environmental services. Sadly, the lake has been left to rot by the council.
“The water in the lake looks stagnant and there’s a horrible smell coming off it. I’ve also seen a poor turtle trying to swim in that disgusting water.
“The park and the dirty lake need to be urgently cleaned before more wildlife dies in Small Heath Park. And visitors to the park should take pride and look after the park rather than treat it like a big open bin.”
Kamal added: “This park, and the local area, have been totally abandoned by the council. Small Heath doesn’t exist until election time when the politicians come knocking on our doors for votes.
“I’m sick of it. Enough is enough!
“Its time for some positive change. I don’t want a speech by a councillor. I want action.
“The photos of the dead geese are a wake up call for urgent action.”
The calls for actions are growing as local people post their feelings online and call on local councillors to do something to avert a further loss of wildlife in and around the lake in Small Heath Park.
Birmingham City Council’s environment services have been contacted for comment.