Evergreen Power Team River Clean Volunteering Event

On Tuesday 23rd August 2022, seven members of our team took part in a river clean of the River Darent in Westerham, Kent. Organised by North West Kent Countryside Partnership (NWKCP) and co-ordinated by our very own Evergreen Power Team, the task involved a channel clean-up of plastic pollution and other waste along the riverbank.

About Evergreen Power Team

The RJ Power Group’s ‘Green Team’, now called the ‘Evergreen Power Team’, consists of members of staff from all businesses – RJ Power Group, RJ Power Rail, RJ Power Networks, RJ Power Connections and RJ Power North. The team’s purpose is to:

  • Drive environmental/sustainable initiatives and awareness for all businesses
  • Arrange and encourage volunteer events in the communities around our offices and work sites
  • Support and raise funds for nominated charities including The Red Sky Foundation, The Maypole Project, The Air Ambulance Charity, The Railway Children and WWF

The River

The River Darent is a twenty-mile-long Kentish tributary of the River Thames. With its source being by Westerham, the river flows eastwards and then northwards past villages including Otford, Shoreham, Farningham and Horton Kirby, and through the large town of Dartford. North of Dartford, the river receives the waters of the River Cray from the west and joins the Thames near Crayford Ness.

The river has much historical interest including that it once powered over twenty-five watermills, many of which were in operation until the early 20th Century, including Westerham Mill, Brasted Mill, Sundridge Mill and Chipstead Mill.

On the day, Senior Partnership Officer at NWKCP, M. Gallant said: 

“Britain has 80% of the Worlds’ chalk rivers – the River Darent being one of these. Chalk rivers are characterised by crystal clear water that arises from the chalk aquifer. The water remains at a relatively constant temperature throughout the year and seasons, which is suitable for many fish species and other invertebrates. Chalk rivers sustain a wonderful variety of biodiversity from native brown trout through to important plants like water crowfoot.”

The Task

Having had an introduction to the task and a Health and Safety briefing, the team put on appropriate PPE including waders and gloves in preparation for the task ahead.

Equipped with rubbish bags and litter picks, the team headed into the river corridor and to the surrounding banks, collecting any rubbish they came across. This included seven traffic cones that had been disgarded in the river!

Having spent around 90 minutes collecting waste, the team then weighed their rubbish bags to calculate the total amount of waste that had been collected.

Preventing Plastic Pollution Project

As part of the Preventing Plastic Pollution Project, the different types of plastics we collected were classified and uploaded onto a European database. This helps scientists to identify plastic pollution hot spots and better understand which types of plastic are polluting our rivers.

The team are pleased to have collected a total of 21.6kg of waste (excluding heavy items such as traffic cones and tyres) from the river corridor and banks. Most of the waste consisted of the following:

Item No. Collected
Crisp & Sweet Packets 89
Drink cans 75
Assorted Plastic 55
Plastic Drink/Water Bottles 41
Wet Wipes 27

The team had a great day and they look forward to their next volunteering event.

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