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Extinction Rebellion Newark and Sherwood to organise community litter pick along River Trent from Riverside Park in Newark to clean up flood debris from winter storms

A group of volunteers is helping to clean up after recent floods left debris and litter scattered along the River Trent.

The riverside from Newark’s Town Lock to Nether Lock is to get a spring clean as volunteers from Extinction Rebellion Newark and Sherwood plan a litter pick.

The volunteers also want to use the opportunity to engage with the public on the wider topic of river pollution and all are welcome to join in and help.

Cleaning up after floods in Newark. Photo: Graham Keal.
Cleaning up after floods in Newark. Photo: Graham Keal.

Litter pick organiser, Graham Keal, said: “Storm after storm has hit the UK this autumn and winter, from Storm Agnes in September through to Jocelyn in January, threatening homes and businesses with polluted flood water containing sewage, litter and other hazards.

“In Newark, receding waters have left a trail of debris, revealing waste litter and other nasties that routinely end up in our rivers.

“It’s not only an eyesore but also a continuing threat to our wildlife. We wanted to do something about this to make a positive difference.”

The litter pick will take place on Saturday, February 17, from 10am starting at Riverside Park, opposite Newark Castle.

Cleaning up after floods in Newark. Photo: Graham Keal.
Cleaning up after floods in Newark. Photo: Graham Keal.

Extinction Rebellion member, Lois Rumsey, said: “We hope the community will get behind this and turn out in force to lend a hand.

“Not only will this make a practical difference but it will also send a signal that the people of Newark care about our rivers.

“The litter and rubbish is just part of the story. Until recently, people knew very little about sewage being routinely dumped in our rivers.

“This is changing, but what people may not realise is that it is happening on our doorstep, with a number of local sites discharging effluent.

Data collated by The River Trust shows that a combined sewage overflow on the River Devon at Sconce and Devon Park spilled 31 times in 2022 for more than 38 hours.

As well as handing out litter pickers and hi-vis tunics, the group will be encouraging people to email Robert Jenrick about their concerns and to sign a petition demanding stronger action for our rivers.

Lois added: “It’s a case of, we are cleaning up the riverbank, we now need Severn Trent to stop dumping sewage so the waterway can begin to recover.’”

The group is awaiting confirmation of support from Newark and Sherwood District Council, who have previously provided litter pickers, sacks and other equipment as well as agreeing to pick up collected rubbish after the event.

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