The World Canals Conference celebrates the use of inland waterways and highlights the challenge to keep them pollution free.

Events are being held in Dublin, Belfast and Lisburn as part of the World Canals Conference and boats have gathered on the Grand Canal in Dublin to mark the occasion and demonstrating the use that can be made of waterways right in the heart of the city.

The fleet of boats makes an attractive site on the Grand canal at Mespil Road in Dublin.

Delegates have met at Dublin Castle to debate how inland waterways should be made a vibrant, living heritage. While the boats along the canal show how the canals can be used, the Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland John Martin is concerned over the amount of littering and dumping along the canals. He says that this pollution is turning the Royal and Grand canals into

The biggest skips in the country.

He goes on to say that there is a big expense involved in removing this rubbish from the canal. The challenge is to persuade the public to stop using the canals as dumps.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 May 2001. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.