Wading in to clean up the Wandle

On Sunday 10th November the Wandle Trust, supported by local estate agents Seymour Green, organised a cleanup along a stretch of the River Wandle next to Haslemere Industrial Estate in Earlsfield. An urban river that runs through Croydon, Merton and Wandsworth, the Wandle suffers more than average from fly-tipping and pollution, and monthly cleanups are necessary along certain stretches to help local wildlife reinstate itself.

On this occasion an impressive 73 cheerful amateur river dredgers from the local community volunteered on a bright and crisp Remembrance Sunday afternoon to do their bit, spending a couple of hours picking out tyres, bicycles, number plates and other assorted bric-a-brac. Volunteers came from far and near, including students from the American International University in Richmond.

Erica Evans, the Wandle Trust’s Cleanup Organiser, said “We had lots of local people wearing waders fishing out unwanted waste from the river...we can really see an improvement from doing these cleanups regularly which is great.”

A typical cleanup involves a health and safety briefing at 11am, followed by a couple of hours of cleanup, then a break for snacks. Cleanups can last until 2-3pm, and are always on the second Sunday of the month. The Wandle Trust provides equipment like waders and safety vests, and organises with the local council to transport the bulky items removed from the river.

The event was supported by Seymour Green Estate Agents, who also provided the Wandle Trust with a new catering boiler to help brew a few cuppas for future cleanups. The charity hopes to be able to expand the scale of the current cleanups and venture into creating more areas for endangered river wildlife to flourish.

“We’re really proud to be in a position to help our local causes as a local business ourselves, and we see it as part of our community obligation to help keep our local rivers clean and pleasant” said Colin Brown, Managing Director of Seymour Green Estate Agents.


Written by Deborah Churchill