Event 181: Hamadryad Park revisited (5 January 2019)

To kick off the new year’s activities, we returned to Hamadryad Park on Saturday 5th January to carry on the job we began before Christmas.

63 volunteers got stuck into the reeds to continue the mammoth task. The freezing weather did not deter them as they scoured the area for two hours, collecting lots more rubbish to add to the 180 bags they collected just two weeks ago.

Together the team gathered another 140 bags of waste! The haul included hundreds of plastic drinks bottles, fast-food wrappers, cuddly toys (not-so-cuddly after spending months in the Taff), gas canisters, road barriers, plastic pipes, footballs and a load more plastic ducks! All waste will be collected by Cardiff Council.

Committee member, Louise Tambini, said,

“When we formed the group in 2009 we had no idea that we would still be active 10 years later, and it’s now stronger than ever! We have new volunteers at every event and now have over 550 subscribers on our event mailing list. This is beyond anything we could have dreamed of.

“I know it is a shame that groups like ours need to exist to deal with rubbish that is left by irresponsible people, but when we are on a clean-up we have such fun together. Spending time in the outdoors, in often very beautiful surroundings, with like-minded people, is a great way to spend a morning. Litter-picking can be very rewarding, both physically and mentally, and is a great way to meet new people and do some exercise.”  h

It was also the first official event where our new boat was used and very useful it was, too, enabling volunteers to reach litter in deeper water and places inaccessible from the shoreline. We’re very grateful to EMR Metal Recycling, Viridor, Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru and the Cardiff YMCA (1910) Trust, who provided the funding to enable us to purchase the boat, motor and trailer, and to train volunteers in the safe use of the boat.

What a great way to start the New Year. Thanks to all our regulars and a big welcome to all the new faces!

More photos on our Flickr page.

Event 180: Hamadryad Park (22 December 2018)

35 volunteers attended our last event of 2018, on Saturday 22 December, and wow, did they make a difference!

Together, in just 2 hours, they collected 180 bags of rubbish (mostly plastic drinks bottles), 18 plastic ducks, 16 traffic cones, 9 tyres, 2 road barriers and lots more miscellaneous stuff!

Volunteers braved the chilly water to remove the rubbish, most of which would otherwise end up breaking down into micro-plastic pollution — which then gets ingested by wildlife — or be washed down into the bay by storm water and potentially ending up in the sea.

One of our members, Chris Hackett, is currently in hospital recuperating from an operation, so the team donned masks to show him we were thinking of him!

What a great way to finish 2018!

There’s some drone footage of the event:

And there are more photos on our Flickr page.

CRG Needs Your Scrap Metal!

Over Christmas and New Year you may well get a new practical present.

So, if you have surplus things (working or not) — eg, microwaves, hoovers, garden tools (electric, petrol or manual), old pots & pans, bikes, etc — we would be happy to take them off your hands!

Also any scrap metal — basically, anything made of metal, large or small. A lot of small quantities soon add up! We will also take car batteries.

Please bring them along to any of our events — just let us know if you’re bringing quite a lot, and/or a large item (such as a bike), so we make sure to bring the trailer.

We will then sell the items to keep us going! (We are a licenced waste carrier and will get best prices for all donations.)

Many thanks & have a Happy Christmas!

Dave King

Event 178: Grangemoor Park (24 November 2018)

Thirty-one volunteers spent a rather overcast (though thankfully dry) Saturday morning, 24 November, working hard to tidy up Grangemoor Park and the surrounding area.

Half of the volunteers litter-picked the park and neighbouring retail estate — always somewhere in need of attention, given the proximity of fast-food outlets.

The other half endeavoured to save a pond which is gradually being choked by excessive vegetation.

As you can see in the photos below, since just after Grangemoor Park was opened in 2000, the pond has filled-in more than somewhat with reeds and other grasses.

So the volunteers spent 2 hours pulling reeds and bulrushes, and cutting down encroaching scrub, in an attempt to maintain an important habitat. Tiring work!

The pulled-up reeds and cut scrub were left as ‘habitat piles’ — handy for overwintering insects, and creatures that need to hibernate, such as grass-snakes.

All the litter and rubbish collected was removed by Cardiff Council.

More photos on our Flickr page.

Event 176: River Ogmore (27 October 2018)

Didn’t we have a lovely time, the day we went to Ogmore…

Cardiff Rivers Group responded enthusiastically to a call for help from one of its members to clean the River Ogmore on Saturday, 27 October. Our volunteers love a trip to the coast, so we worked in partnership with Brian Jones from Keep Wales Tidy to arrange and publicise an event.

At first, it seemed that there was not much rubbish, so the team concentrated on collecting smaller pieces of plastic (cotton buds, bottle tops, bits of rope) and other nasties that birds would mistake for food.

Then, as the water levels dropped, the full extent of the problem was revealed as tyres — lots and lots of tyres — and trollies could be seen in the riverbed.

The team set to work and spent over three hours digging them out and rolling them up the bank and over to the car park. It really was back-breaking work.

The team collected 203 tyres (including several lorry ones, and even a gigantic tractor tyre!), 5 trollies, several traffic cones, some road barrier, a wheel-barrow, a large gas canister, and 50 bags of smaller litter.  Oh, and the inevitable yellow plastic duck.

drone video of the group in action can be seen on our Youtube channel.

Local resident, Angela and family, kindly provided teas and coffees for the volunteers as they took breaks during the exhausting work.

Angela said, “A huge thanks to Cardiff Rivers Group and all the volunteers for cleaning this section of the Ogmore River – it was staggering how much rubbish had been dumped, especially the tyres! 

It was a fantastic morning. I would encourage anybody who enjoys the stunning scenery of Ogmore river to take part in the next clean up and help us maintain its beauty for many years to come.

Nigel Barry, secretary of CRG, commented “It will be hard for people to comprehend but the 200 tyres removed today is a small reflection of what’s actually in the estuary. The amount of tyres, trolleys and cones that we saw today is criminal. We had to prize volunteers away from the water in the end! Three and half hours in the bitterly cold weather and tough conditions was exhausting.

“The estuary is a wonderful habitat for wildlife and we saw lots of bird species, but in terms of littering, the state of this estuary is disgusting and it will take volunteer groups like ourselves years to restore it to its former glory. Even though it’s off our patch, we need to schedule a return!

The team retired to The Pelican pub in Ogmore for a well-deserved drink and were rewarded with free chips!

All the waste collected will be disposed of by Vale of Glamorgan Council.

More photos on our Flickr page.

Event 175: Dr Who Beach (19 October 2018)

We got the weekend off to an early start with an event on Friday afternoon (19 October) at the Dr Who ‘beach’, in Cardiff Bay.

And to add to the usual excitement, the event was filmed by ITV Cymru Wales, for an episode of their Coast & Country programme, to be shown on Friday 2 November, at 8pm.

Despite the short notice, and its being on a weekday afternoon, an amazing  55 enthusiastic volunteers turned up to clear the beach of litter and logs brought down the Taff by Storm Callum, and do a litter-pick of the surrounding area. Maybe it was the sunny weather? Or the lure of the TV cameras?

In under two hours, the group managed to fill two floating skips to over-flowing. The washed-up rubbish and litter will be processed by Cardiff Council, and the wood will go for use as biomass fuel.

Amongst the litter were yet more yellow plastic ducks — we always seem to find at least one, and often several.

One even had a number on its head, presumably from when it was used in a “duck race”, a popular (if misguided) way of raising money for charities.

Given the current awareness of marine plastic pollution, it’s hard to believe that anyone would now intentionally throw plastic ducks into a river, no matter how good the cause.
Before and after photos
Before and after.

Lots more photos on our Flickr page.And our thanks to the Look Out Café for offering discounted post-event teas and coffees.

Making A Difference in Rivers and Waterways in Cardiff and Surrounding Areas