Wandle cleanup: Wandsworth: January 2018

For our first cleanup of 2018, we headed to Ravensbury Terrace in Earlsfield.

Having attempted this cleanup for December, I had deja vu as I unloaded the van on site. At least this time there was no snow and you could actually see the bottom of the river, instead of the raging torrent I was faced with on Sunday 10th December 2017. Check out the video here (https://twitter.com/Wandle_Trust/status/940152156224675841) or look at the photo I took!

This month’s event was supported by a local resident, Phil Stubbington, who kindly donated to the Trust’s cleanup work, and also through our Wandsworth for the Wandle project, funded by the Tesco Bags of Help fund. Many thanks to both for allowing us to put on this much needed event!

We kicked of the day in the usual style, with a Health & Safety talk, but I also added a 2017 quiz – what had we achieved through our cleanups in 2017? Well here is the summary:

Not bad hey?

With our 2017 reflection over, we started cleanups for 2018. Waders got in the river, bank support were ready and waiting and the first cleanup of 2018 started!

Within a few minutes, it was clear we had a lot of work to do. The wading team hardly moved a metre for the first half an hour as they collected trug after trug full of rubbish.

One find that caught my attention first was this conch shell! We considered cleaning it up and using it as a way to summon the volunteers for break time, but in the end we decided against it.

Within less than half an hour, this was the rubbish pile:

We had not been to this site since April 2016, and it clearly needed a visit from us as the river bed was purely made of rubbish including plastic, bits of wood, building rubble, clothing and carpets.

The team soon found a mattress as well which was so full of water it took some muscle to get up the bank and then up on to the car par for collection.

For 20 minutes, we watched as a dedicated trio dug around in the river bank for an unidentified large metal object. In the end, it was not one safe..

But two safes!

A find that got the volunteers excited was this Avo Meter.

However, as I had never heard of an “Avo Meter”, I was more excited by finding Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo.

By lunch time, the rubbish pile was huge and the volunteers had started a toy collection for me to choose from…

In the afternoon, we got back to it as the temperature had dropped and it was just better to keep moving.

We found a stone loach which we safely returned to the river. Throughout the day we also spotted four eels and a barbel (or so I am told…)

As we neared the railway bridge we found a collection of number plates..

And some huge silver piping which looked much heavier than they were to carry, allowing everyone to look stronger than they were.

To top it all off, we found some big money, 1 Romanian Leu which is 19p at the moment according to Google!

Finally with the rubbish pile about the overspill the fence, we called it a day and packed up the van.

So what did we find?  1 gas meter, 1 forklift tyre, 1 bra, 1 baby dummy, 1 pub bench, 1 Go Kart tyre, 1 single mattress, 1 car seat, 1 Romanian Leu (19p), 1 bicycle basket, 1 camping kettle, 1 makeup set, 1 Lumiere toy, 1 Bruce (shark from Finding Nemo), 1 conch shell, 2 old pollution booms, 2 Christmas trees, 2 bicycles, 2 safes, 2 TVs, 3 computer chairs, 3 traffic cones, 3 giant silver bits of piping, 4 other tyres, 4 carpets, 5 coconuts, 10 number plates, bags and bags and bags and bags of other rubbish!

We also saw 4 eels, 2 stone loach and a barbel while working!

Huge thanks everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent, and the Waste Team at Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day and to our funders, Tesco and Phil!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:   Aaron, Alfie, Andy, Annabelle, Becca, Charles, Chris E, Chris F, Daniel, Dave, Derek, George, Guy, Ian, Jackie, James, Jane, Joanne, Joe, John, John, Marcus, Mark, Martina, Martina, Nicola, Nicola, Nigel, Noaman, Paul, Penny, Phil R, Phil S, Rory, Rose, Rosemary, Sam, Shelia, Steve B, Steve M, Stewart, Thea, Thomas, Wally and William.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? What a stone loach and baby barbel look like!

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