Forsters’ Green Impact Group support charity Thames21 in River Lea clean-up
On 17 July, Forsters’ Green Impact Group embraced the sunny weather and headed up a troupe of keen environmentalists travelling east to the River Lea in Hackney. On arrival they were decked out and with suitable attire in check, the eighteen intrepid explorers met their guides from charities Thames21 and Leaside Trust.
Thames21 is a charity working with communities across London to improve rivers, canals, ponds, and lakes for the people and wildlife of the city. They encourage corporate volunteers to collect as much litter from the River Lea as possible, over the space of three hours. Leaside Trust is a provider of educational outdoor pursuits for young people in East London, responsible for providing the team with the appropriate canoes.
The volunteers listened attentively to their health and safety briefing – key takeaway: “don’t ingest the water”, and then wobbled two by two into the ark (canoes). After some practice outside the boathouse in which some individuals showed off their canoeing prowess and others struggled to understand the difference between right and left, they were off.
The River Lea is lined with house boats and is a popular setting for canal-boat holidays and riverside barbecues. This heavy footfall has the sad consequence of copious amounts of litter. This finds its way into the river and collects in the weeds and still water at the sides, and around the boats. The litter pickers’ job was to cruise the river, steering admirably into the nooks and crannies formed by the closely-parked boats, while avoiding other river traffic, and collect discarded wrappers, bottles, shoes, cans, and anything else found floating by.
The weather was favourable and the boats proceeded upriver in the direction of Tottenham Marshes, seeing some impressive manoeuvring to reach even the most well-concealed submerged rubbish. Each canoe filled at least a couple of bin bags with detritus, and (possibly even more astonishing) every pair of rowers was still on speaking terms on their return to the boat house, in spite of some necessary criticism between duos along the way.
The state of the waterways in the city is a depressing matter about which David Attenborough would be ashamed. However, Forsters’ Green Impact Group hope that he would be proud of their attempts to protect their environment and make a change.
Zahava Lever is an associate in our Private Client team.
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