A Really Rubbish Job!

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Beth Pipe (above) writes:

A few weeks ago three of us (myself and, left to right, Richard Bennett and Steve Pipe below) decided to venture out onto the pond to collect rubbish. So we donned our best wellies and life jackets, grabbed the boat from the workshop and off we went. Well I say we donned our best wellies – one of our number decided to attempt the feat wearing only trainers – which presented many muddy athletic challenges!

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We dragged the boat round to the launch point and those of us with wellies pushed the boat out into the water. Those of us wearing only trainers got to sit in the boat and watch all the hard work!

The first thing we realised was how shallow the pond really is. There was only the three of us in a flat bottomed boat, but it was just about impossible to row anywhere near the edges of the pond. The problem was particularly bad around the end of Brookly stream and at Sandy Bay. In fact the picture of Sandy Bay below was taken at a point about as near as we dared try rowing in.

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We managed to get right up to the edges of the reed beds though and collected plenty of rubbish – mostly the sorts of things you’d expect; empty beer cans, carrier bags, discarded tennis balls, random bits of wood etc. We did find one birthday balloon still partly inflated and, rather more worryingly, one used syringe.

The worst area for rubbish is at the end of Brookly Stream – but as I mentioned it’s impossible to access this area by boat. Unfortunately it’s also just about impossible to access it from land as well so, sadly, the rubbish in that area will have to remain there for now. In an age when the recycling and save the planet messages are so loud and clear it’s quite sad to see so much litter still discarded and damaging the environment – and especially some of the more vulnerable wildlife.

Whilst we were in the boat we took the opportunity to visit the many islands on the pond – it’s nice to see things from a different angle and it’s clear that these islands provide a wonderful haven to many birds. Talking of birds, at one stage we saw 7 herons in a cluster of treetops. Unfortunately our camera wasn’t of a high enough resolution to capture them all, but it was certainly very impressive to see.

We also checked out the newly installed Tern Islands and evidence of their use was very clear – which is excellent news.

We’ll try to get out in the boat again next year after the nesting season for another litter patrol – maybe if there are fewer of us we can get closer in to the edges – particularly at Brookly Stream. It’s not the most glamorous of jobs, though rowing around the pond was fun (and quite tiring after the first hour or so – maybe we can interest Sir Steve Redgrave in helping out next time?). We landed one big black bag of rubbish so it was a job well worth doing – but if would be so much nicer if there was no litter in the first place.

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