A recent three hour clean-up operation in Perivale by volunteers from LAGER Can, the Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents and CURB – Clean Up The River Brent has contributed to the removal of six tonnes of rubbish from the River Brent including 150 fly tipped tyres and other associated refuse to fill 530 sacks to be disposed of safely.
With help from self-storage company Vanguard who gave access to River Brent from its premises on Alperton Lane, the teams were able to remove rubbish which Ealing Council’s in-house contractor Greener Ealing were there to collect.
Volunteer Jane Branch, said: “The river wasn’t deep but this was more difficult than any other river clearance because of the volume of heavy items held down by silt, which stank! These had to be removed from the river and dragged up the bank. What I did notice was how much faster and more freely the river flowed once we’d taken out all those obstacles.”
The new move to cleaning up waterways comes after LAGER Can, which this month celebrates its fifth birthday, was officially accredited as a Thames 21 River Action Group.
LAGER Can’s Cathy Swift said: “We are thoroughly enjoying this new aspect of our work, and are using money raised from our cake sales and other fundraising activities to build up a stock of waders, rubber gloves, wading poles, ropes and grappling hooks. The events can be physically demanding. Tyres, bikes and shopping trolleys buried in silt are difficult to extract and very heavy, but we conduct a full risk assessment and method statement before each event, and we always have a first aider present.”
Next on the list is a move to cleaning up Alperton. Cathy explained: “We plan to tackle a horrendous amount of rubbish in Alperton this autumn, before it has the chance to float downstream.”
Ealing Park Ranger James Morton said: ‘It’s been amazing recently to see the local community coming together to help care for the River Brent. The removal of rubbish and the control of invasive weeds has already had a clearly visible impact. And it’s exciting now to be talking about achievable tasks to help the river’s wildlife and improve its ecology.”