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Grantham RiverCare resume clean-up services following lockdown




Grantham RiverCare resumed their clean-ups having been away for 189 days during lockdown.

Without being able to work in their usual open format for 189 days due to COVID-19 restrictions, Grantham RiverCare returned for some much-needed post lockdown clean-up.

Over three weekends, a total of twenty-one volunteers, known as "river heroes", gave 72 hours of their time to get their adapted stretch of the River Witham, from Bridge End Road to Harrowby Weir, back to looking loved again.

RiverCare's river heroes who gave up their time to clean up their local area (41440012)
RiverCare's river heroes who gave up their time to clean up their local area (41440012)

To ensure their work is COVID secure, the river heroes have been working in groups of a maximum of six people.

In their absence, litter piles have grown higher and, in the three trips since July, RiverCare have collected around 400kg of assorted items.

These items include five shopping trolleys, eight bikes, numerous footballs and road signs.

Gary's Canadian Canoe helped to collect detritus from the river (41439996)
Gary's Canadian Canoe helped to collect detritus from the river (41439996)

RiverCare also discovered an illegal homemade crayfish trap, notifying the relevant authorities, as well as live bank cards and personal documents of a HMP Lincoln releasee, with the police contacted on both occasions.

However, RiverCare did not just find these intriguing items. 106 glass bottles, 76 plastic bottles and 304 cans were recovered, with the cans donated to the Helipads for Hospitals campaign.

Grantham RiverCare have now reached 96 group clean-ups over the last fifteen years, and are hoping to hit 100 by their 16th anniversary in October.

In addition to cleaning the river, the river heroes moved into nearby streets, cleaning pavements, gutters and blocked drains, which could all end up as urban flood risks as well as causing litter to flow into the river via street drains.

Five shopping trolleys were recovered by RiverCare (41439999)
Five shopping trolleys were recovered by RiverCare (41439999)

David Martin, one of the co-leaders of Grantham RiverCare, said: "COVID-19 is having an impact on the riverside, creating a ‘litter pandemic’.

"We have seen the careless disposal of single use face masks, wipes and plastic gloves. Please don't drop your PPE litter!

"An extra thank you to Gary and his pair of river look outs that regularly filled up Gary's Canadian Canoe (the floating skip!) and to SKDC Street Scene for their support in supplying bags and collecting the fruits of our litter labours."

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