The Great River Rescue!
The cleanup this month was part of a much wider campaign to raise awareness of the amount of plastic and rubbish found in our rivers, and consequently the ocean: The Great River Rescue. The campaign has been organised by environmental charity Thames21, The Rivers Trust, the Marine Conservation Society, the Angling Trust and the Canal and River Trust. The campaign was inspired by Future Dust, a large-scale artwork by Maria Arceo in the shape of a giant plastic footprint commissioned as part of Totally Thames, the September-long annual celebration of the River Thames. The installation will tour to different riverside locations across London. To find out more about the campaign and Future Dust, visit here.
After the Health & Safety talk, we divided up in to 3 teams: wading, bank support and litter pickers. The wading team got in the Wandle just upstream of the Lydden Road pedestrian bridge and from there headed upstream. In no time at all, rubbish was flying out of the river and the day began.
We were joined by two new volunteers who can come armed with powerful magnets on the end of rope – using them to fish out metals from the river! I don’t know whether it was thanks to these magnets, or a coincidence, but we found a lot of random bits of metal on the river this time.
As we worked up the river, the famous coconut was found:
By lunch time, the rubbish pile was taking shape and we were all ready for a sit down and a cup of tea. A huge thanks to Leah and the other students for baking such lovely treats for everyone.
After lunch, everyone got back in the river to finish off the last 50 m to the next bridge and Derek did a spot of river shopping:
So what did we find? 1 pet cage, 1 coconut, 1 road sign, 1 badminton racket, 1 kids car, 1 bike tyre, 1 car bumper, 1 elephant mask, 1 safe, 1 shopping basket, 1 tyre swing, 1 plastic table, 1 empty drill box, 1 traffic cone, 1 shopping trolley, 1 bicycle, 10 tyres, 40 metal poles and 80 bags of other rubbish.
Huge thanks everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent and for helping me back at the garage, the students for baking such yummy treats, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and the Waste Team at Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.
Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, Adam, Andy, Charles, Chiara, Chris, Chris, Christine, Connor, Dave J, Dave W, David H, David S, Derek, Emily, Geoffrey, Gideon, Guy, Jane, Joe, John L, John N, Leah, Lisa, Luke, Lynda, Marcus, Mark, Martina, Megan, Mohamad, Naah, Pamela, Penny, Per, Phil, Raphael, Robert, Rose, Ruby, Steve , Tom, Tony, Wally, Wayne and Will.
So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? Be quick so I don’t miss out on cake!