Residents Are 'Doing It For Themselves'

Newly formed group Putney Tidy Towpath collect six bags of litter in two hours


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While Blue Planet II highlighted the problem of plastic in our oceans, in Putney the Thames and the surrounding area has it's own litter and plastic issues.

Local residents have come together in a bi-monthly litter collections under the guise of Putney Tidy Towpath. The aim is not only to remove litter & plastic from the foreshore, towpath, slipways & Embankment from Putney Bridge to Queen Elizabeth Walk, but also to create an awareness that will prevent resident and visitors from dropping litter.

Today nine volunteers were joined by two member of the established neighbouring Barnes Tidy Towpath Group, who lent the newly formed group their experience and the Health & Safety chat! In addition Nicola Grant the Director of Positively Putney Business Improvement District and Liz one of their ambassadors also joined in - their offices are on the Embankment. Nicola commented: " Positively Putney BID team were delighted to join the first Tidy towpath for a clean up. The River is such a big part of Putney and is important to keep it clean and tidy so that people can enjoy it".  

The team attacked the stretch from Leader Gardens to Queen Elizabeth Walk collecting not just the obvious drink cans and plastic bags shown above, but also small piece of polystyrene and ear buds - the latter are released with sewage in to the Thames on a regular basis. One volunteer told this website: "It was a great morning in the sunshine, not only did we make an immediate visual improvement to the towpath, but we are preventing plastic getting in to the Thames and in turn the fishes whilst benefiting from a feel-good factor!"

One of the organisers Sandi Bloomfield said: The litter is not necessarily Putney's litter but it is Putney's problem, the tides bring and take the rubbish up and down stream. While litter picking deals with the symptoms, one of our objectives is to actually reduce the use of the non-biodegradable items that find their way into the river or onto the towpath".

Four pawed assistant Rex guards the collected litter

Six bags were collected, in which there are 100's of ear bus sticks, 38 plastic glasses (interestingly over 85% of those were directly opposite Fulham Football ground), marine rope, a builders large plastic carrier, broken bits of polystyrene, drinks cans and bottles, plastic bags, dog pooh bags and some unmentionables! The council have agreed to have the bags collected after each collection and their contractor has donated the litter pick sticks and gloves for the volunteers.

After the event, Paul Benton, who is one of the cordinators said: "The PTTG welcomes all volunteers to assist us in our goal of clearing rubbish and especially plastics from the river before they are washed out to sea where they threaten marine life. The volunteers were in universal agreement that the simple act of collecting and bagging the rubbish is both rewarding and fulfilling in terms of doing bit to improve our local and global environment".

The next litter clearing is on Saturday 27th October from 10.30am -12.30pm - the details will be found on the groups' facebook and twitter pages - or email to register your interest.

Litter on the foreshore

The group are currently unable to clear for the foreshore as they require Public Liability Insurance to work in that area which is managed by the Port of London Authority (PLA) - training from Thames21 would allow the group to clear the foreshore. The group are looking for funding from local institutions to pay for the relevant training.

October 12, 2018

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