In sweltering hot weather eleven Trust staff members joined in Thames21's Waterfields canal clean-up near Woolwich Polytechnic on Monday 19 July 2010. “It was the second canal clean-up Trust Thamesmead has taken part in as part of our new volunteering initiative; it would have been the third but the weather dampened our attempts last month,” said Trust Thamesmead's Marketing and Communications Officer Julia Hickson.
Also joining in were five Tilfen Land members of staff, Bexley and Greenwich Migration Impact Fund Project Officer Lee Christie and two Thamesmead residents, one of whom is a member of Gallions Residents Group and Chair of Thamesmead's Furniture Bank.
A Team Gallions van was on hand to collect and take away more than half a ton of rubbish that was collected from in and alongside the canal. Amongst the bottles, cans and tins were catalogues, supermarket trollies, garden parasols, two televisions, a table and one dead duck! We also saw a lot of algae being taken from the canal, which although being a form of food for wildlife, can starve the water of oxygen if there is too much.
Thames21's Thamesmead River Keeper Solomon Small who is funded by Gallions Housing Association said: “We will be returning next week to retrieve the weeds and branches that were left on the side of the canal; which will give the invertebrates and other small animals that are trapped in the weeds time to migrate back to the canal.”
Trust Thamesmead's Community Development Officer Linda Delieu who co-led the event said: “Everyone did a fantastic job of clearing up the canal on one of hottest days of the year; everyone should be very proud of themselves. We would like to hear from residents who would like to get involved in future canal clean-ups or any other aspect of community development.”
Environmental charity Thames21 have been commissioned by Gallions Housing Association to engage with residents, community groups, schools, traders and corporate companies to promote the importance of a clean and tidy canal-way. Solomon said: “There is no obligation from local government to remove rubbish from canals but as a charity we think clean canals are important both aesthetically and for wildlife.”
Six canal clean-ups will be taking place in Thamesmead throughout August, for more information log onto our Events diary.