Hogsmill River cleaned with help of KU students

KU students took to a bit of spring-cleaning last week, though unusually it involved pulling some strange waste from a local river.

Max Parker

The clean up at Hogsmill River, which runs through Middle Mill halls of residence just by Knights Park campus, was organised by the KU Biodiversity Action Group and included students and local volunteers.

Severed foot

Landscape and Biodiversity administrator Rachel Burgess said: ”I was particularly struck by the endless energy and willingness to get mucky that every single volunteer showed. It was a marvellous effort.”

After a long day of cleaning, the volunteers ended up with some rather surprising finds. These included piles of political flyers, carpet, bundles of estate agent newspapers, a vacuum cleaner and a bicycle wheel. Though strangest of all was a Halloween themed plastic severed foot, complete with its fake blood.

However, Ms Burgess added that this clean does not sort everything out, saying: “Although we make a huge difference doing these events, it is not a complete solution, unfortunately wherever there are humans there is waste.”

Vitally important

Rachel Burgess, who studied Sustainable Development at KU until the summer of 2012, wants to turn the clean into an annual event that she hopes will attract more volunteers.

“It is vitally important that students get involved in such events for many reasons. Their participation reflects the high value that the University places on the local environment. It allows students to interact and work with local residents.

“Student participation is also one of the best ways to raise awareness about littering and river conservation issues as volunteers get hands-on and first-hand experience. This type of learning sticks with you, even more so if it’s fun too. Volunteering is becoming an important way of gaining skills,” added Ms Burgess.

Litter hot spot 

Due to the way the Hogsmill River runs into a bottleneck, it can prove to be a particular hot spot for litter, making the clean even more important in keeping the surrounding areas visually appealing.

Out of the ten volunteers who helped, six were KU students, though only two of them were male.

The Biodiversity Action Group now turns its attention to their next project, which focuses on eel monitoring with the Zoological Society of London.

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