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.

Event 174: Reed Clearing at Forest Farm (23 September 2018)

A brave gang of around 20 volunteers was not put off by the rainy conditions on Sunday morning, 23 September, as they ventured to Forest Farm to help the Cardiff Council Park Rangers clear reeds from one of the wetland ponds.

Every year, it’s vital to remove excessive growth of reeds to ensure the survival of the pond and surrounding wetland environment, which provides an important range of habitats for a large number of species — not only the obvious birds (such as kingfishers, moorhen, heron, snipe, water rail, reedbuntings, wagtails, and even the occasional bittern), but also fish, amphibians, lots of invertebrates (above and below the waterline), and a wide variety of plants.

The hardy volunteers spent two hours at this back-breaking task, and in that time managed to clear reeds both from the perimeter of the pond itself, and from areas neighbouring the pond that will form a ‘scrape’ of reed stubble over the autumn and winter.

And, midway through the morning’s event, everyone was delighted to see the sun come out and the clouds clear to give blue skies — the sun always shines on CRG!

Event 173: Lamby Way Beach (9 September 2018)

Over 40 volunteers spent a sunny late summer’s Sunday morning cleaning-up the coastline on the far side of the Lamby Way Recycling Centre.

The event was CRG’s contribution to the All Wales Beach Clean — the UK’s largest national beach cleaning and litter survey programme. Officially, it’s taking place from 14th to 30th September, but, never ones for convention, CRG decided to get in a few days early.

Collage of photos

In just 2 hours, the group collected 72 bags of plastic bottles, 71 bags of miscellaneous rubbish, a builder’s sack full of ‘rigid’ plastics, 2 aluminium beer barrels, 4 gas bottles, 4 car wheels, 3 traffic cones, 3 compost bins, a camping toilet, plus assorted bits of metal and treated wood.

In addition, we recovered another 5 polystyrene-filled crash bags, which had washed down the Rhymney after being looted from an inadequately-secured building site earlier this summer and used as makeshift rafts. (We recovered 14 of them at our Ball Lane event at the beginning of July.)

Group shot of volunteers

It’s not, perhaps, the most accessible bit of coastline, but it does have a fantastic view across the Bristol Channel, over to the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm. And, so long as the wind’s in the right direction, you’d never know there’s an industrial-scale compost heap right by it.

And just to prove there really is a beach there…

"CRG" written in the sand
If you’d like to see CRG in action, there’s a short time-lapse video on our Facebook page
still frame from video

Many thanks to Joe Arch for alerting us to this beach location.

Event 172: Radyr Weir (25 August 2018)

(The rather creepy photo at the top is of a doll’s head found during this event!)

Over 40 volunteers from Cardiff Rivers Group returned to the River Taff on Saturday, 25 August, to tackle the area around Radyr weir.

The group split up into teams to tackle the riverbank, Longwood Drive, the Taff Trail, and the Melingriffith feeder.

The volunteers worked hard for 2 hours, and together they collected 109 bags of rubbish!

Much of this was found in the feeder. Volunteers kitted out in waders and wellies trudged through the muddy feeder stream to collect bags and bags of discarded drinks cans, which littered the stream floor.

Group member Louise Tambini said, “It was lovely to see so many people give up their Saturday morning to make such a huge difference to this area. Everyone who took part should be very proud of themselves!

The amount of cans we found in the feeder was shocking. I really wish people would dispose of their waste correctly and stop damaging this important habitat. I hope that a deposit return scheme comes into force soon to prevent people from irresponsibly littering their drinks containers in the environment,” she added.

All waste was collected by Cardiff Council.

More photos on our Flickr page.

Event 171: River Ely at Ely Bridge (4 August 2018)

45 enthusiastic volunteers from CRG, the local community and South Wales Police collected a huge amount of litter and rubbish from the river Ely and surrounding areas at Ely bridge on the morning of Saturday 4 August.

The haul included:

60 bags of miscellaneous litter
An astonishing 15 bikes/scooters
2 gas fires + some sort of gas heater
A cigarette vending machine…

Cigarette machine removed from the river Ely.

… 1 shopping trolley
A computer monitor
Exercise stepper
TV tube
Desktop computer case
A huge piece of curved sheet metal…

Huge piece of curved sheet metal
… Lots of cable sheathing
A very long piece of metal wire
2 traffic cones
2 traffic barriers
Various bits of steel mesh
Lots of assorted pieces of metal (pipes, angle iron, architectural iron-work)

Assorted rubbish removed from the river

Metal will be recycled via our sponsor EMR Metal Cycling and other rubbish was collected by Cardiff Council.

More photos in our Flickr album.

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