The one with the rotting salmon…
Our July Wandle cleanup saw us heading to a site we hadn’t been to in four years and one month – Goat Road!
We set our tent up on Watermead Lane and waited patiently as 48 people gathered round ready for the start of the day. We were joined by around 20 young’uns from 5th Morden Cub Scouts, as well as Gary Hunt, chairman of the CATCH urban river group in Somerset, who also came along to share ideas.
So with everyone gathered, I gave my Health & Safety talk and we got started.
Our waders headed to tackle the river upstream of Goat Road. Although this section of river looked beautiful and the perfect chalkstream – it wasn’t long until rubbish was found.
A chimney was our first find, but that was soon overshadowed by the rest of the rubbish that was pulled out!
A go kart…
Computer chair and wooden pallets…
And a mannequin’s arm!
Soon the rubbish pile was huge.
In the undergrowth around the river, and in the smaller channel around the mills, there was a lot of litter too. Luckily we had the scouts on hand to help us!
Just before lunch, 10 boxes of rotting salmon were discovered in the side channel and removed by some brave volunteers – the smell lasted all day.
We stopped for lunch to have a rest – as it was hard work in the sun. But as always, knowing there was more rubbish to be found, the waders were soon heading up to Buckhurst Avenue for the next session.
While we waited on the bridge for the waders to emerge from behind the factories on the Buckhurst Avenue stretch, we used the grappling hook to fish out a bicycle we could see in the water. It took a few attempts but we got it in the end.
Three trolleys were soon pulled out once the waders arrived.
And a burned-out moped was found abandoned in the undergrowth.
After a long day we packed up the van and headed home.
So what did we find? 1 chimney, 1 go kart, 1 armchair, 1 sofa, 1 computer chair, 1 lawnmower back, 1 moped, 1 manikin arm, 2 golf clubs, 2 rubber ducks, 2 coconuts, 3 traffic cones, 4 trolleys, 4 wooden pallets, 4 bicycles, 10 boxes of rotting salmon, 12 tyres and bags and bags and bags of other rubbish!
Huge thanks to local volunteer Jackie for kindly funding this event, 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, Sally for baking some treats, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and the Parks Team at Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.
Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, Ahamefull, Alex, Andy B, Ben, Beth, Bruce, Charles, Chris E, Chris F, CJ, Dave J, David H, Declan, Derek, Edgar, Frank, Freddie, Gary, Geoff, Gillian, Guy, Helen, Irene, Jackie, James B, James E, Jane, Joe, John L, John N, Joshua, Kathy, Kim, Marcus, Martina, Massimo, Mathew, Max, Melanie, Nick, Paul, Per, Phil, Rachel, Rose, Sally, Sheila, Shivani, Steve, Susan, Theo, Wally, Will and Zach.
So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? There really are salmon in the Wandle, they’re just in catering boxes…