The Thames21 team were in action again on 15th March 2017, making a positive difference to the local environment. Staff member Joanna Barton led a group of three volunteers, between them extricating 132 fly-tipped car tyres from land along By-way 105 between the River Cray and a hollow formed by the convergence of two sections of Thames Water sewer embankment. It is likely that they have been there, latterly hidden from view by scrub growth, for over a decade. Bexley Council kindly agreed to collect them from a distance down the by-way, saving having to carry or barrow them all up to our usual Thames Road rubbish collection point.
Thames Road Wetland Site Manager Chris Rose, with Ron Pearson and Ray Hudson, upgraded the ‘trap’ which intercepts oily silt, plastics, polystyrene and other litter washed off Thames Road. Rather unbelievably for something constructed only 10 years ago, the end of the pipe funnelling this material off the road was left open part way up the roadside bank, with no interception whatsoever. We replaced the degraded chicken wire round our home-made pollutants ‘trap’, designed to prevent this material getting into the main wetland waterbody, with more durable mesh, and dug out the large accumulation of oily, litter-riddled crud for disposal.
We also adjusted levels in in the containment ditch that we dug around year ago, in order to try and help establish some plants to filter the hydrocarbons. However, the rapid and extreme changes in water level may yet defeat us on this.
Joanna Barton/Chris Rose, Thames21