The one where the rubbish didn’t stop coming
For our October cleanup we ventured to a new site for myself, but one that had been done in the past when Erica ran the cleanups – Waterside Way.
Waterside Way is the half way point between Plough Lane and Merton High Street, meaning we could clean further down the Plough Lane stretch than we had reached before. The fact that we hadn’t been there for a number of years was very obvious once we got started…
The wading team walked 100 m downstream and got into the river. Instantly, large items were found and piled up on the side – the bank support team didn’t stand a chance!
Shopping baskets, bed springs, carpets, car seats, car bumpers – all within a stretch less than 10 m long.
The rubbish came out so fast that we ended up asking some waders to hope out and help shift the rubbish from the bank to the rubbish pile back on Waterside Way.
Perhaps the “Find of the Day” was our creepy baby manikin – just in time for Halloween…
By lunchtime, everyone was exhausted and so we headed back to base for some tea and carrot cake (kindly baked for us by Ann). Even creepy baby joined us for some tea.
After lunch, we got back to it. With so much rubbish coming out, we were glad for the extra help from students from Richmond International University University – helping us ferry the rubbish back to base.
Throughout the cleanup, carpets were the most prominent find with over 20 found in our short 50 m stretch. These took a lot of man power to get out as they had become part of the river bed, trapping silt and allsorts.
At the end of the day, everyone got out on the banks and helped to carry the surplus of rubbish back to the pile. And what a pile it was!
So what did we find? 1 flymo, 1 bed spring, 1 hanging basket, 1 creepy baby manikin, 1 shoe, 1 clothes horse, 1 lino sample book, 1 car bumper, 1 keyboard, 1 mop, 1 dustbin, 1 cooker hob, 1 TV, 1 tyre, 1 bicycle frame and tyre, 1 giant pipe, 2 hose pipes, 2 car seats, 2 shopping baskets, 2 microwaves, 2 toasters, 4 stereos, 3 traffic cones, 3 umbrellas, 15 spray glue cans, 20+ carpets and piles and piles of wood planks and other rubbish.
We also saw an eel and a frog!
Huge thanks to the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership for funding the event as part of the River Guardians projects, everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Dave and Louise for supervising the Event Tent, Wally for helping supervise the cleanup, and the Waste Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.
Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Alex, Alison, Amelia, Andy, Ann, Charles, Cheyenne, Chris, Claire, Danny, Dave, David, Davis, Ed, Gary, Guy, Jane, Jason, Julia, Kaitlynn, Kamillah, Keith, Kristina, Louise, Marley, Nick, Niyin, Phil, Richard, Rob, Shivani, Steve, Stewart, Sue, Thima, Wally, Wayne, Will and William.
So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? That our cleanup effort was just the start, we will need to come back to Waterside Way!