Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

06-03-13 : Hogsmill Litter Pick success

Many good souls turned out for our annual litter pick in and along the Hogsmill River last week. KU students and local residents teamed up and collected an impressive haul of discarded and lost items during our afternoon session.

Volunteers get stuck in, eager to clean up our local waterway.

The weather was kind, although that didn't prevent many getting wet and mucky, as ever-determined to pick up that last bit of litter, the river often got the better of volunteers' waders!

Litter pickers and bin bags in hand, volunteers get their eye in for rubbish lurking under the water.

We all appreciated the workout some of the larger items gave us as we hauled them out of the water. Plenty of scrap metal, glass bottles and even carpet was found and required real grit and strength to heave into our trailer - kindly provided by council contractors Quadron, who offered to dispose of our waste.

Chloe demonstrates her mighty strength as she presents her finds.
Teamwork at its best - safe and efficient.
Buddying up in pairs, volunteers worked the river section from the Stanley Picker Gallery to the Knights Park bridge, then completed the task by sweeping the riverbanks and pathways alongside. Among the finds were the expected drink cans, sweet wrappers, crisp packets and plastic bags. But also some rather more intriguing discoveries.
The girls stride out in pairs to seek out the rubbish!
This vacuum cleaner certainly wasn't aiding our clean up efforts today!
Ironically for our 'clean up' event one of our first discoveries was a panasonic vacuum cleaner casing! We later found the pipe attachment.We also recovered a valid student ID which we hope to return to the owner, bicycle wheels and locks, lino flooring, boxes of discarded brochures and a staplegun!

The star find of the day  had to be this severed foot (don't panic, it wasn't real!) found by Richard.
Helen gave this perfectly usable jug a new home in her garden - waste not want not! Photo courtesy of Helen Smith.
In the perfect example of sustainabilty, one volunteer decided to rehome some items - a perfectly usable bucket and intact glass jug - they will be put to good use in her garden only metres from where they had been dumped as junk.

A couple of other volunteers also observed two eels in the river - indicating that the Hogsmill is quite healthy and a promising sign for our forthcoming eel monitoring project. (See below for more details).

It was a very satisfying afternoon's work, and something the local wildfoul instantly appreciated. As we left, two moorhens came to inspect the newly-cleaned river - perhaps they will soon be nesting here! Timing of this event was deliberate to get the area into a fit state for such wildlife as the nesting season approaches. By ridding the water and riverbank of hazards such as 4-can plastic loops and broken glass we know the wildlife will no longer be at risk of getting snarled-up or injured by them.

A clean environment can discourage further littering as it looks cared for and more attractive so we hope our efforts will have a lasting impact on the area to the benefit of KU staff and students, local residents, fishermen and of course, wildlife. The natural course of the river will always bring waste to this point as the two streams of the flow converge, but at least by witnessing our efforts at this site people may think twice about how they dispose of their coke cans in the future.

After peeling ourselves out of our heavy, wet waders, feeling weary but with a great sense of achievement, volunteers headed for the Stanley Picker Gallery for refreshments. We were treated to delicious cake for our efforts which went down very well. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the other people who will benefit from our clean up of the area and take a look around the gallery which currently features work of KU students involved in the Fixperts project.

Once again, biodiversity volunteers demonstrated their endless energy and dedication to the cause with this, one of our muckier, events. If this sounds like you, why not sign up to help check the Hogsmill eel trap over the summer - part of ZSL's London wide eel monitoring programme? Or if you prefer to stay out of the water, come along to our Community garden tea party on Wed 13th March from 1pm at the Kingston Hill Community Garden. Help us do some odd jobs to prepare the garden for spring and tell us what you'd like to grow there (over a nice slice of cake)!

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