Wandle cleanup: September 2011: Merton

The one with the rubbish morning and the floating pennywort afternoon

The day dawned bright and fresh, and 41 volunteers assembled in Ravensbury Park ready to tackle both rubbish in the main channel and floating pennywort in the lake.  Again, there were some new faces and one ‘old’ one!  Diana, a stalwart of our cleanups when she lived in Earlsfield, had come all the way up from her new home in Somerset to join us for the day.

First up was the remains of a wheelbarrow…

followed quickly by a large piece of chipboard…

Janet carried a piece of wire fencing to the dump site situated at the entrance to the park, whilst Charles made his way back to those volunteers in the river ready for the next load of rubbish:

Then Helen and Gearoid found half a divan base which they dragged to the river bank:

And so the rubbish removal continued until, with great timing, our volunteers got all the way up to where the river goes under Bishopsford Road just in time for our refreshment break.

After tea, coffee and slabs of delicious lemon drizzle and chocolate cake, provided in absentia by Jo, everyone gathered round to listen to a mini workshop given by Bella on the properties of floating pennywort and how best to dispose of it.  Then we were off to the lake to get well and truly stuck in.  Luckily the lake has a concrete bottom so whilst the water was quite silty, our volunteers were assured that it wasn’t going to get any deeper. 

The floating pennywort was so dense that Jane and Mike were able to recline on large mattresses of it! 

Soon those in the water had mastered the cut and roll technique…

… and lifted the pennywort up on to the landing stage, where it could be barrowed away from the water to compost under the trees:

Back at the entrance to the park, Stan had arrived to load up all the rubbish into the back of his truck.  Removing the contents of the last wheelbarrow, he reckoned that we’d collected about two tonnes of rubbish.  Our thanks to him, as well as Tony of Merton Council’s Waste Management Team for arranging the pickup!

We could have carried on until we’d cleared the lake of the pennywort, but as it’s a filthy and exhausting job, everyone decided they wanted to head home for hot showers. But looking at the before and after photographs…

… we were satisfied that we’d done a pretty good job.

Thanks to all our volunteers:  Abi, Amy, Andy, Barry, Bella, Bruce, Chandra, Charles, Chris, Claire, Dan, Diana, Erica, Gearoid, Helen, Ignacio,  Jan, Jane, Janet, Jason, Jim, Jo, Joanne C, Joanne W, John N, John P, Ken, Matthew, Meryn, Michael, Mike, Natalie, Neil, Nicola, Peter, Rob, Roger, Ruby, Sarah, Sue and Tim…

… who removed…

1 safe, 1 carpet, 1 wheelbarrow frame, 1 hat stand, 1 umbrella, 1 plastic chair, 1 bicycle, 1 football, 1 car battery, 1 Christmas tree, 1 plastic crate, 1 piece of fencing, 1 divan base, 1 piece of chipboard, 2 computer screens, 2 traffic cones, 6 tyres and another 1.5 tonnes of unidentified rubbish.

As well as tonnes – we think about 5 – of floating pennywort!

Thanks to Jan Carter for pictures 5, 6, 10 and 11.

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