Event 203: Plymouth Great Wood (3 August 2019)

32 volunteers (including 3 local police & community support officers) pulled a truck-load of rubbish out of Plymouth woods on Saturday, 3rd August.

And we were joined by two Cardiff Park Rangers (Raj and Richie), who spent the morning cutting back the vegetation that was threatening to close off the pathway leading from Frank Road down to the woods and riverside.

The mammoth haul included a motorbike, 3 trolleys, 2 sections of iron railings, a car bonnet, and several tyres, plus the usual enormous number of drinks bottles and cans.

Sadly, it also included a lot of fly-tipped general waste, much of it directly behind houses bordering the woods.

In fact, there was so much rubbish that we’re going to  have to arrange a special follow-up event just to clear some of the larger items we found, which were too difficult to move on the day, such as a burnt-out car, two more motorbikes, three huge lorry tyres and a safe (empty).

We’ll be back!

More photos on Flickr.

Dave King MBE

Cardiff Rivers Group founder member Dave King has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list “for services to the environment”.

A self-confessed “litter-obsessive”, Dave helped found Cardiff Rivers Group back in 2009.  Since then, it has removed tonnes of rubbish from the rivers, waterways, lakes and ponds in and around Cardiff, ranging from tens of thousands of tiny pieces of polystyrene, through hundreds of tyres, shopping trolleys and traffic cones, to nearly two-dozen motorbikes. The group will be celebrating its 10th anniversary and 200th event in July.

He’s also been instrumental in setting up other groups and organisations in Cardiff, such as Keep Grangetown Tidy and The Dusty Shed (a men-in-sheds project that aims to tackle social isolation amongst older men).

The citation for his award praises his “dedication and obvious passion”, which are immediately clear to anyone who’s ever met him.

Dave told Grangetown News: “I am very, very grateful to those who took the time and effort to nominate me for this award. It was totally unexpected. No-one achieves anything on their own and this is most certainly true of me. I am passionate about both the environment and community engagement and action but wouldn’t be able to do anything without the huge support in particular of Glynis my wife and of friends in Cardiff Rivers Group, Keep Wales Tidy, Keep Grangetown Tidy and Cardiff Council.

It’s a cliché, perhaps, but it really couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke.

Event 193: Ball Lane, Llanrumney (14 April 2019)

35 volunteers from Cardiff Rivers Group enjoyed a sunny morning in Llanrumney as they cleared rubbish from the River Rhymney and surrounding green space.

Together, the litter heroes collected 85 bags of rubbish (50 bags of general waste and 35 bags of recycling).

They also found car engines, lorry radiators, trollies, large plastic barriers and sheeting, lots of metal and even a bin.

And the human volunteers were ably assisted by some canine companions.

Cardiff Council collected all the waste as soon as the event was finished.

Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Event 191: Cath Cobb Woods, St Mellons (23 March 2019)

As part of Keep Wales Tidy’s ‘Spring Clean Cymru’ campaign, 34 volunteers from Cardiff Rivers Group spent 2 hours removing litter and waste from Cath Cobb woods and stream in St Mellons.

Sadly, this lovely habitat was full of litter and waste.


The volunteers collected an amazing 86 bags of rubbish, plus many larger items, including 6 shopping trolleys, 3 bikes, bits of metal fencing, a wheelchair, a pushchair, several footballs and some car tyres.

The team even found a packet of ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ crisps from 1992, which shows just how long litter can stick around.

Who you gonna call? Cardiff Rivers Group!

A number of volunteers spent the whole 2 hours removing rubbish-filled blockages from various parts of the stream to allow it to flow freely again.

A great morning’s work by everyone who came along!


The waste will be collected and disposed of by Cardiff Council.

More photos on Flickr.

Event 189: Hendre Lake (3 March 2019)

25 Volunteers spent an extremely soggy Sunday morning clearing rubbish from Hendre lake, its banks, the surrounding paths, and the streams and reens that flow into and out of the lake.

The regular volunteers were joined by lots of welcome new faces, including local residents and Cardiff councillors.

The team removed lots of litter, miscellaneous large metal items, several tyres and, disappointingly, lots of angling-related debris, such as fishing line and empty bait packets. There were also a lot of discarded cigarette butts around the various fishing platforms.

Annoyingly, quite a lot of rubbish on the edge of the lake — drinks cans, camping-stove canisters, food tins, etc — couldn’t be picked up as it was trapped in thick brambles, and will have to wait until they can be cut back.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the soaked volunteers, who went for a well-deserved drink afterwards to congratulate each other on a job well done!

More photos on our Flickr page.

Event 184: Hailey Park (26 January 2019)

48 amazing volunteers spent 2 hours scouring the banks of the Taff in Hailey Park on Saturday morning, 26 January, removing litter and other rubbish that had been washed down the river — a lot of it quite high up the banks, following Storm Callum.

Although it did rain a bit during the morning, thankfully we weren’t subjected to two solid hours of downpour like last year. (That said, the leak in my waders meant that the weather was largely irrelevant.)

Together, the CRG litter-locusts collected 80 bags of miscellaneous rubbish, 8 car tyres, 2 supermarket trolleys, 2 traffic cones, various bits of traffic barriers, a green wheelie-bin, plus assorted items of scrap.
The metal items that we found — including a large (and very heavy) bit off an electricity pylon (it still had a most of a brown ceramic insulator attached) and various lengths of metal piping and cable — will be weighed-in for scrap at EMR, Cardiff, as part of CRG’s fundraising.

One thing that was very apparent during Saturday’s event was the amount of “non-woven fabric” — aka wet wipes — that was caught up in branches and other obstructions along the banks of the river.And those were just the ones that didn’t end up as part of monstrous sewer-blocking “fatbergs“, like the 800 tonne one recently removed from a sewer in Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay, at a cost of £2 million.

The problem is, it’s incredibly hard to remove non-woven fabric, as it just tears into bits. But if left, over time the material will break down into micro-plastic particles that will end up in the food chain, and which may well ultimately be eaten by us.

However, there is some good news on the horizon, with the introduction of the “Fine to Flush” industry standard. Wet-wipes that meet the standard won’t contain any plastics and will break down so that they don’t cause fatbergs or, we hope, get caught up on the riverbank. This is a massive improvement on the current situation, in which manufacturers label some of their products as “flushable”, even though none of them have passed the water industry’s disintegration tests.

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