AN IRONING board, a bike and a fence were just some of the things pulled out of the River Usk in Newport yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) by fire fighters.

Seven Malpas crew members donned their overalls to pull the rubbish out of a 10 by five metre stretch of muddy riverbank, and make their river rescues safer.

The operation will be one of several this summer between Newport Bridge and George Street Bridge.

Rather than drive 20 minutes to Uskmouth to launch their six-metre 'rib' boat, it's quicker for fire fighters to launch smaller inflatable vessels down the slipway next to the Riverfront, explained Malpas station manager Dean Loader.

"We need to be as quick as possible and (rubbish) like this can impede the progress of our boats, cause injuries to fire fighters and damage equipment," said Mr Loader, who has been with the fire service for 20 years.

"Today we're working with Street Scene and Fly Tipping Action Wales because doing this has environmental benefits as well."

Gary Inight, south east area coordinator for Fly Tipping Action Wales, which is sponsored by the Welsh Government, said it's their job to help coordinate such clean ups, which they also do in local communities to raise awareness of the consequences of fly-tipping.

"We can give councils surveillance cameras and offer legal expertise if they take a fly-tipping case to court," he explained.

"If someone knocks on your door and says they'll take away your rubbish for you, make sure you use a registered waste carrier. If we all did that, fly-tipped waste would be reduced drastically."

The group is currently trialling an app called FlyMapper with Newport council which allows people to report incidents of rubbish dumping.

A Welsh Government consultation on fly-tipping, with a view to creating a strategy to tackle the problem, is currently underway.