Monday, 29 November 2021

Paddleboarders clear rubbish from Thames on Rivers Day

Paddleboarders clear rubbish from Thames on Rivers Day

MORE than 25 volunteers took part in a litter-pick on the River Thames on Sunday.

It was organised by environmental campaigner Lynne Lambourne as part of Great Big Green Week and to mark World Rivers Day.

Ms Lambourne, founder of Warriors on Waste, worked with Val Wyatt Marine, of Willow Marina in Wargrave, and Nick Judd, founder of paddleboarding tuition business Go With the Flo.

Participants met at the marina and were given a safety briefing by Mr Judd.

Many of them used the paddleboards as they collected litter from the water.

Others walked along the towpath and followed a route to the backwaters of Wargrave and then upstream towards Henley.

They collected enough rubbish to fill 10 big tubs, which were provided by Planet Patrol.

Afterwards, they were rewarded with free tea and coffee and cake provided by the Cwtch café, which is based at the marina.

Ms Lambourne, from Peppard, said: “It was brilliant and we were so lucky with the weather.

“We were thinking we wouldn’t get so much because from a distance the river looks so clean but when you get stuck in you realise it is pretty dirty. We collected 10 big tubs and black sacks of rubbish in just a few hours. It was mainly glass bottles, drinks cans and plastic water bottles, which are the bane of our lives.

“We found everything from flip-flops to Styrofoam to a pallet but bottles are always the biggest problem. We must have collected more than 100 bottles and cans.

“Events like this help to create a vision in the community and get people thinking about what can end up in the river. We cannot have our rivers being polluted because it harms biodiversity. Ultimately, all rivers lead to the ocean and I’m all about saving the ocean.”

The rubbish was sorted into different categories and logged using a Marine Debris Tracker app, which collects information about what sort of waste is in rivers and the ocean to help scientists understand pollution trends.

Ms Lambourne, an award-
winning interior designer who uses upcycled furniture and salvaged materials, thanked all the volunteers, saying: “It was great fun and everyone had a great time.

“There seems to be a really wonderful bunch of people in Henley who want to contribute but there were also people from Hampshire and Southampton who came after reading about it online. More people know more about my work and it seems to be gaining momentum.”

Mr Judd said: “It was fantastic to see people of all ages coming together to benefit the community. Litter-picking by paddleboard allows you to access the little nooks and crannies along the water as well as searching in the reeds and bullrushes.”

Lisa Anacora, managing director of Val Wyatt Marine, said: “The river is an extension of our workplace and a part of our lives.

“We’re absolutely committed to keeping it, the seas and our surrounding area clean and litter-free. We are all fortunate to enjoy our environment and it is our responsibility — both as a business and as a community of individuals — to do what we can to look after it.

“I’m very grateful to all those who helped to make this event happen.”

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