Dave Cleans Up!

One of the happiest moments for us at Thames21 is when we get an unexpected phone call from someone who says: “I want to clean up my local canal – when and how can I start?”

This is the approach that Dave Bedford took, except Dave was so keen to get involved, he had already begun removing litter from the canal using a home-made litter-fishing device!

Inspired by his efforts, Dave soon joined up to Thames21’s Training Programme.
He completed both stages of the essential Leading a Waterway Clean Up, the introductions to Water Quality Testing and Surveying Invasive Non-Native Species within two months of that happy phone call. ‘Diamond Dave’ now undertakes clean-ups of the Regent’s Canal on the stretch by Johnson’s Lock near the Johnson Road Bridge, almost every other week. He also attends events regularly as a member of Thames21’s Events Support Team.

“I wanted to volunteer because I was frustrated by the litter in the canal, and it seemed no one was doing anything about it,” he said.
“It is rewarding seeing the rubbish that I get out of the canal. I’m planning to keep clearing up at least once a week. My biggest achievement so far has been seeing a stretch by the Ragged School Museum looking clean, even if it is only for a few days before more rubbish collects.”

From June to September, Dave has undertaken 10 independent clean-ups, equivalent to 24 hours volunteering. In this time he has removed 15 bags of rubbish; a shopping trolley, a car seat, several traffic cones, metal gates, dustbins, an oil drum, a lorry tyre and a metal road sign. He also undertakes monthly water quality surveys, which are helping to establish a good baseline to keep an eye on the health of the canal.

Regents Canal is undoubtedly better off thanks to Dave and his hard work. If you would like to join Dave on this stretch, or want to start doing something like this yourself, get in touch with Julia (Training Officer).