Yesterday’s (19th June) Friends of the Shuttle-led event to start removing the large accumulation of litter from Danson park lake was a big success, drawing in 23 people, including one from Maze Hill and a couple of attendees from over the water in Havering.
Many volunteers were kitted out in full waders to reach more of the rubbish, and others were deployed in boats to get at the otherwise inaccessible areas, including the grilles along the dam bank. Around the lake margins, considerable quantities of cans, plastic bottles and plastic bags were mixed in with what amounted to liquid mud – a slurry of soil washed off the banks and decaying tree leaves – which made both finding it and extraction a slow process. Care also had to be taken to avoid disturbing nesting birds.
The bagged material was then carried and wheelbarrowed up to the overflow car park for later collection and disposal, recyclables having first been sorted into separate bags.
The number of people attending, most of whom expressed an interest in being notified of further such events at this site, and the amount of litter removed from the lake, clearly demonstrates the need and potential for a group capable of delivering hands-on environmental improvement work at Danson Park. FoTS plans to continue filling that void, with the thoughts of organisers immediately turning to another clean-up in winter when further rubbish will be easier to see once much of the vegetation has died back. There are also a number of other projects that could be carried out in the park.
There will shortly be a Council-led on-site management meeting with interested parties at Danson, and a priority for discussion should be what steps can be taken to stop all this litter getting into the lake in the first place. Much of it, we are led to believe, comes from what is washed into road drains in Welling. It appears that it will also be necessary to clarify what the current grounds maintenance contract says about who is being paid to remove what litter from where, since it is hard to believe that anyone has done any serious amount of rubbish removal from the water for some time, given both how much of it there was, and the extent to which a lot of the plastics were covered in mud and thin-film surface algae and had clearly been in the lake a long time.
This website will report back on further developments.