For our August cleanup, we headed to Beddington Park in Sutton.
We started off the day with the usual Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. The weather seemed a bit greyer than it has been for the past couple of months, but this didn’t seem to stop anyone’s enthusiasm to get going!
This area is maintained by the local council, so we were not expecting to find as much litter here compared to other sites. However, our volunteers still managed to find many plastic bottles, tin cans, plastic bags within the first couple of hours.
Within about 10 minutes, we also found two orange construction fences.
Halfway down the first stretch of river, a tree had fallen across the channel. This trapped quite a lot of plastic which we managed to clear. We also removed a road sign from this area too.
After a quick lunch break, we headed down the river once again, into the park. Derek managed to find a shopping trolley, however there was not much litter to find on this stretch of river.
In addition to litter, the river banks along this site were once heavily infested with Himalayan balsam, an invasive plant. We have been working with volunteers over the last few years to tackle balsam and were happy to see very few plants during this cleanup! This goes to show that the hard work of our volunteers is paying off.
So what did we find? 2 traffic cones, 2 construction fences, 1 road sign, 1 golf ball, 1 handbag, 1 plastic snake, 1 shopping trolley, 1 flag, 4 hub caps, wooden boards and planks, metal scraps, bags and bags of other items including tin cans, food wrappers, plastic bags and plastic bottles.
On a more serious note… These events truly demonstrate the impact that plastic waste is having on the environment. At every cleanup, we find many plastic bottles in the river, which can take up to 450 years to degrade in water! One easy thing that anyone can do to tackle this problem is to buy and use a reusable bottle.
Huge thanks for the warm welcome, and to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent, Dave for leading the work with Himalyan balsam, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment, Sutton Council for organising the collection of all the rubbish the next day and to our funders, Tesco!
Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Amy, Martin, Steve, Derek, Paul, Sheila, Gearoid, John, Paul, Sue, Simon, William, Aaron, Phil, John, Sue, Sarah, Marilyn, Nico, Euan, Olivia, Charles, Rosie, Dave, Neil, Ser, Wally, and Chris. We had three new volunteers this month, so once again thank you to Euan, Paul and Gearoid for joining us. We hope you enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing you again at future events.
See you next month!
Lucy and Hannah