Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cleaning The Wandle January 2020

North Road, Merton. Sunday 12-January-2020.

Counter-intuitively now that I am retired I get to clean up the Wandle less often. Half the year we are in Italy so that wipes out the summer months. Over the winter we are no longer constrained by work and are all over the place visiting various parts of the UK and with the best will in the world that often happens on a 2nd Sunday.

This year we started with a clear 2nd Sunday and off I went with my waders and a thermos flask of homemade soup.

The first time I helped tackle this stretch we pulled out a large number of bicycles from the water courtesy of the bridge over whose parapet they had clearly been chucked. This time fallen trees resulted in a large number of floating plastic bottles being trapped so that’s a fair amount of plastic not making its way to the river and hence to the sea.

That's me in the black baseball cap.

It reminded me that each stretch of the river has its own distinctive rubbish based on the demographic of the area. In King George‘s Park it is shopping trolleys because of the nearby Southside shopping centre. Beddington Park had a huge collection of tyres courtesy of the nearby trading estate. Ravensbury Park had a large number of wine bottles, presumably detritus from picnics in the park. This visit we had multiple car number plates, I’m not quite sure why that should be. Also the usual traffic cones and coconuts, etc.

I managed to dip my armpit below the waterline while reaching for some rubbish and filled my waders with icy water. It was sufficiently unpleasant and my toes sufficiently numb that I bailed out at lunchtime and went home for an early bath.

Official report from The Wandle Trust: https://www.wandletrust.org/wandle-cleanup-january-2020-merton/

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