Residents encouraged to join the effort as part of the MyWandsworth campaign
Recently there has been an increase in of people dumping coffee cups, plastic bottles and general litter on the towpath along the River Thames in Putney. In response, the Putney Towpath Group, a local group of dedicated volunteers have been organising litter picks.
Restrictions permitting, they spend a couple of hours, twice a month, to clear litter along the Putney towpath and embankment. Their clean ups cover the stretch from Putney Bridge to Queen Elizabeth’s Walk - the path leading to the Barnes Wetland Centre.
The council is encouraging residents to help in the clean up as part of its MyWandsworth campaign, to keep the borough looking at its best.
Sandi Bloomfield, co-founder of the Putney Tidy Towpath group said, “The Putney Tidy Towpath Group seeks to highlight and find a solution to the problem of non-organic litter and non-biodegradable items on the Putney towpath and foreshore before those items are washed out to sea by the next high tide, affecting both wildlife in our rivers and marine life in our seas and oceans.”
Paul Benton, co-founder of the Putney Tidy Towpath group added, “As well as picking up rubbish, we want to encourage people to act responsibly; eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, so we need to encourage people to do the right thing with their litter and educate them about the harm it does to wildlife.”
Councillor Steffi Sutters, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Open Spaces said, “The Putney Towpath Group and all the people who volunteer with them do a fantastic job; they should be applauded for the countless hours they put in to keep the Thames clear of litter.
“However, the reality is that they shouldn’t need to do this – people who drop litter need to think about the harm they are doing, to the environment and to wildlife in the sea. Putting litter in the bin, or taking it home, really is a simple thing to do, so please do your bit to help protect the environment.”
In 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, the group still managed to hold 13 litter picks, collecting 107 large sacks of litter. They have also taken on two Duke of Edinburgh bronze students, as part of a scheme that supports young people and recognises their efforts in completing a series of self-improvement exercises.
And in 2019 to 2020 another three students completed their Duke of Edinburgh silver awards with the group, which encourages young people to help the community/environment to become fitter and develop new skills, such as planning, training for and completing an expedition.
The group will supply equipment to pick up and collect litter, but ask that you bring your own and sanitiser for use before and after the collection, plus thin gloves that can be worn beneath the gloves they provide. Clean-ups are subject to current COVID-restrictions and run in smaller groups than normal.
Putney Tidy Towpath is a politically non-aligned Community Action Group seeking to lessen the damage plastics and non-organic materials have on our shared environment. The group meets twice a month - for more details email firstname.lastname@example.org
December 4, 2020