Calls have been made for an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be established after new figures show the extent of pollution problems on the Six Mile Water.
The statistics revealed how there have been 676 reported pollution incidents in the river’s catchment area since records began in 2012.
The Northern Ireland Environmental Agency disclosed the information after a request from South Antrim Alliance MLA John Blair.
Of the 676, 57 were rated either medium severity or high severity. A total of 10 cases were referred to the PPS resulting in prosecutions and fines in the courts totalling £7,950.
Mr Blair said: “These figures make clear incidents of pollution are happening again and again, with polluters not deterred from dumping materials in our rivers.
“A strong, independent EPA with the ability to educate and prevent such pollution will not only send out a tough message against polluters but undoubtedly improve the quality of life for everyone in Northern Ireland.
“ However, the current lack of an Executive means this issue cannot be progressed and in the meantime, our environment will suffer.”
Commenting on the scale of the issue in Ballyclare, a DAERA spokesperson said: “In respect of water pollution incidents impacting the river at or around Ballyclare from 2012 to date, and taking a 2km radius from the town centre, 96 incidents were reported and investigated by NIEA.”
The spokesperson added: “There are no plans to establish an independent environment protection agency. This would be a matter for the Executive.”