Cray Riverkeeper team deliver 14.5 hours of litter removal and habitat management

Five volunteer Thames21 Riverkeepers spent a total of nine person-hours today (29th August) removing 4 sacks of recyclable rubbish, and 9 sacks of non-recyclable material from the banks of the River Cray along Footpath 106, downstream of Crayford town centre to Barnes Cray Road.

Bob, Carole, Ron and Malcolm setting out the litter for collection by the Council. By piggy-backing on Bexley's scheme for collecting mixed recyclables from flats with no room for separate boxes, the riverkeepers are now able to divert much of the material they pick up from landfill or incineration. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Bob, Carole, Ron and Malcolm setting out the litter for collection by the Council. By piggy-backing on Bexley’s scheme for collecting mixed recyclables from flats that have no room for separate boxes, the Riverkeepers are now able to divert much of the material they pick up away from landfill or incineration. (Photo: Chris Rose)

The  group is currently concentrating on habitat improvement work at Foots Cray Meadows, but scheduled an event on 106 because of the poor state of the river corridor along the footpath behind the properties on this part of Crayford Way.

River Cray Project Officer Michael Heath said “Unfortunately there is a significant minority of people who disrespect the environment and think it acceptable to deposit large numbers of beer cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags and food wrappers  along the river, some of which will fall or blow in and end up in the sea. We have a small but dedicated team giving their time for free to rectify this damage. We are dealing with 8 miles of river so it’s difficult to do everything we’d like to. With more volunteers and less littering we could do much more to improve the river for wildlife, local  residents and visitors, so I’d urge people to get involved.”

Project Officer Michael Heath (centre, with Bob and Ron), says the group could get a lot more good work done if additional volunteers come forward to increase capacity. No particular expertise is needed, and new skills can be learnt 'on the job'.

Project Officer Michael Heath (centre, with Bob and Ron), says the group can get a lot more good work done if additional volunteers come forward to increase capacity. No particular expertise is needed, and new skills can be learnt ‘on the job’. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Cray Riverkeeper and Friends of the Shuttle River clean-ups and habitat improvement events can be found in the calendar on this website.  Michael can be contacted at  michael.heath@thames21.org.uk / 07968 805751 and FoTS at  fots-thames21@hotmail.co.uk

Following the river clean, volunteer Thames Road Wetland site Manager Chris Rose then did a five and a half hour solo session at this Bexley Council-owned area, catching up on vegetation management along key pathways and around Marsh Sow-thistle plants. Four more Harvest Mouse nests were found, taking the total to 7 so far.

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