Sadly, litter has been washed up onto the area between the reeds and the high flood defence wall. Due to the shape of the shoreline wall the litter remains trapped. Noticing that this was an issue, Bexley resident Rob Poole had the idea to organise a clean up in this area.
The CRAG was subsequently formed, and following accredited training from Thames21, four members of the group became qualified river action leaders. “Eighty per cent of plastic that ends up in the sea starts in our rivers and streams,” says CRAG leader Anji Petersen. “Whether it has been washed, thrown or blown here, the foreshore litter is a health hazard to the river habitat.”
CRAG volunteer Ian Tokelove adds: “So much plastic washes up along the estuary, some of it fresh, much of it fragmented, all of it unwanted.”
To begin with, the group cleared a safe route to the foreshore from the Thames path. Ten volunteers collected 40 bags of waste, much of which was comprised of different types of plastic. “We’ve made such a difference already to a small stretch of land,” says Anji. “It was so satisfising to remove the plastic fragments along with random items such as a steam iron and car tyre.”
The group’s next event will be on Sunday 23 October when they’ll begin removing larger items and obstacles on the beach. CRAG member Anette said: “We’re really thankful for the Making Space for Nature grant and this will enable us to buy essential equipment we need to carry out this vital work and improve Thamesmead for all.”