280 kilos of toxic waste

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Strandliners local volunteers out in force along the banks of the River Rother

Over four days this autumn, Strandliners volunteers cleared more than 280 kilograms of toxic waste from a 2-kilometre stretch of the east bank of Rye’s River Rother, bringing the 2019 total collected from that site to 750 kilograms.

Strandliners executive director Andy Dinsdale said : “Our evidence shows that 45% of that is domestic or consumer items. If our dedicated volunteers hadn’t cleared it, it would have ended up in the sea.” [Total waste collected by Strandliners volunteers from all sites in 2019, including the Rother was 850 kilos]

As part of Surfers Against Sewage’s Summit To Sea event and with active support from the Rye Golf Club, Rother District Council and the Rye Harbour Master, Strandliners led a four-day clean-up and survey of the Rother riverbank, an effort requiring over 100 hours of volunteer labour.

Incorporated in 2018, Strandliners, a local community-driven community interest company, tasks itself with cleaning area beaches and riverbanks. Its sharper focus is now on analysing and logging where the waste its volunteers collect comes from, with a view to stopping it at its source.

Says Dinsdale: “Our fingertip searches of the riverbank revealed that 80% of the rubbish by weight was plastic. No other agency or environmentally-conscious group has ever done a survey of the Rother like this before. As an example of our findings, in just one square-metre surveyed, our volunteers picked up over 400 biobeads.”

Biobeads are minute man-made microplastics used in wastewater treatment plants as media filters. According to industry sources, biobeads are never released into the environment. And yet …

To scale up its war on plastic, Strandliners has now launched a community action programme to train and deploy members of local communities as citizen scientists, serving as stewards of upstream waterways in the River Rother catchment basin.

To learn more about the work Strandliners and its volunteers do for your environment, go to strandliners.org. You can sign up for future events by emailing strandlinerscic@gmail.com

Source: Strandliners

Image Credits: Andrew Dinsdale .

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