Incredible haul of plastic collected in River Calder near Altham clean-up

The army of volunteers ready to tackle plastic pollution
The army of volunteers ready to tackle plastic pollution

Piles of washed up plastic bottles dumped in a river were picked up by an army of volunteers who want to create a cleaner planet.

Local residents and officers from the Environment Agency, Ribble Rivers Trust and SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK together collected more than 600kg of rubbish as part of a clean-up of the River Calder.

Local residents had contacted the Environment Agency with concerns about a large amount of plastic debris that had been left by recent high flows on the River Calder, near Altham.

The Environment Agency has a strong partnership with RRT and to address the problem, the organisation joined forces to arrange a local litter pick, with SUEZ kindly donating their time and facilities for recovery and recycling of the waste.

More than 20 volunteers attended the clean up and numerous bags of litter were filled and in total 620kg of waste was collected.

SUEZ are working with their partners at TerraCycle to ensure as much of the rubbish as possible to be recycled into toiletries bottles as part of their partnership with Procter and Gamble. Any material that can’t be recycled will be sent for energy recovery, meaning that no waste will need to be sent to landfill.

Following the clean-up Environment Agency catchment co-ordinator, Helen Dix, said: “It was a really productive morning – you could see the difference to the river banks once we’d finished and has really helped improve the environment.

“A lot of the waste we were picking was small fragments of plastic and polystyrene that would have been remobilised the next time the flows are high, which would have put wildlife at risk and looked unsightly. Some of the bottles contained oils and other potentially polluting substances, so I’m pleased that we managed to remove these from the river.

“It was lovely to spend the morning with a range of people who want to improve the River Calder and shows what can be achieved by working together.”

SUEZ’s National Sustainable Development Manager, Leigh Broadhurst, said: “SUEZ are delighted with the results of the River Calder clean up and we are glad that we could team up with the Environment Agency, Ribble Rivers Trust and residents to take local action against the global issue of plastic pollution.

“Thank you to everyone that participated – it shows just what can be achieved when individuals, public bodies and businesses work together.”

It’s important people remember to report environmental incidents, such as pollution, to the Environment Agency via their incident helpline on 0800 807060, open 24/7 so they can investigate and take action to protect people and the environment.