Wandle Cleanup: January 2020, Merton

We had an excellent turn out on Sunday for our first cleanup of the year at North Road, Merton. 49 volunteers came along to lend a hand and we were delighted to welcome 20 new faces as well as plenty of familiar ones. We were treated to some unseasonably warm weather and some lovely sunshine – there has even been an incident of mild sunburn among the Wandle Trust staff!

With a heavily rubbish laden stretch of river to tackle, we got started about 400m downstream where a couple of fallen trees had helpfully trapped rubbish as it floated down towards the Thames.

Further upstream we found another one, only this rubbish collection seemed to be held together by rancid fat and lots of polystyrene balls – a frustrating and smelly floating fatberg-esque mix that was very difficult to clear! (Read more about the big problems fatbergs cause in our sewers here).

Looking much better after a valiant effort to extract lots of tiny bits of plastic

Meanwhile, an essential ‘terrestrial’ team litter picked the park, helped bag up all the rubbish that came out of the river and transported it back to the rubbish pile in wheelbarrows.

An particularly high number of plastic bottles were pulled out

After lunch we finished off the final stretch of river alongside the storm tanks and a stylish find meant that Polly left the event looking even cooler than when she arrived…

Over the course of the day volunteers found a typically weird and interesting mix of items:

So, what did we find?

8 tyres, 7 footballs, 7 number plates , 3 toys, 2 traffic cones, 2 handbags, 2 statues, 2 chairs, 2 duvets, 2 coconuts, 2 hula hoops, a driving licence, a scooter, a kettle, a butter knife, LOADS of plastic bottles and lots of other general rubbish.

A special thank you to everyone who helped unload in the morning and pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent, Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funder, Thames Water.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:

David, Tony, Emma, Tom, Kamile, Andzelika, James, Jamie, Tom, Stewart, Derek, Guy, Aaron, Martin, Andy, David, Tony, Chris, Mark, Neil, David, Will, Trudi, Matthew, Cindy, Fiona, Sam, Roderick, Kyle, Ed, Alex, Will, Sally, James, Kay, Lisa, K, M, Sanna, Wally, David, Sheila, Charles, Phil, Paul, Peter, Matthew, Eamonn & Kim.

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