Almost 50 bags of litter have been collected by a group of volunteers on the Wilton International site, the majority of which were plastic bottles that will be used to create bottles greenhouses and donated to the local community.
Staff from the Tees River Trust and the Industry Nature Conservation Association (INCA) were joined on Friday by volunteers from Sirius Minerals, Sembcorp, SABIC, Johnson Matthey and Univar to collect rubbish on the banks of the River Tees, close to the Bran Sands Lagoon – the site of the proposed new harbour facility for Sirius Minerals’ polyhalite project.
The river is recognised as being of international importance for nature conservation and has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and proposed Special Protected Area.
Their efforts come just days after the Canal and River Trust released a report that called on everyone to pick up and recycle a piece of rubbish each time they visit a waterway, which they say “could equate to millions of bits of rubbish being collected within just a few months, stemming the tide of plastic before it reaches the sea”.
The collected litter will be recycled, with all of the clear plastic bottles being used to create environmentally friendly greenhouses, which will be donated to the local community for use at the Marske allotments and Saltburn Library garden. A further three truckloads of driftwood were collected to be donated to Saltholme RSBP.
Jackie Schmidt from the Tees River Trust said: “Studies show that up to 80 per cent of litter found in our oceans comes from inland waste, passed through water-courses around the world and out to sea in places like this. The extent of the problem locally was confirmed by the fact that we collected a total of XX bags in just four hours”.
“It was fantastic to see so many volunteers from organisations who work on the Wilton site getting involved”, she added.
Duncan Smith, Area Project Director for Sirius – who was one of a number of Sirius staff members who took part in the pick, said: “The entire site is home to an array of wildlife and rare birds – which is lovely to come to work and see every day. Today was a great opportunity to do our bit for both the environment and the local community.”
The Tees River Trust are a charity committed to improving and conserving the River Tees through research, education and practical habitat improvements. For more information, and details of similar clean-up operations, visit http://teesriverstrust.org/