Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Diver Down!

I had a nice enjoyable walk with the dogs in the warm sunshine along the Tinsley Canal. It proved to be a walk full of surprises. The first surprise was to spot what looked like one of the CaRT 'find-a-friend' tents. However, it turned out to be two highly organised volunteer groups cleaning up a section of the canal. 

The rubbish was being extracted at a very fast rate. Well you would expect that to happen with around 30 people being involved. Our thanks must go to Dave Walker one of the CaRT Lock Keepers based on the Tinsley flight for getting the groups together. 

However, these are not the usual CaRT litter pickers. This was a very special group who brought with them a very special set of skills and equipment.  DiveWorld is based in Sheffield and today some of their members came to really clean up the canal. But this time not from the bank, but from the water. When I arrived there were 16 divers in the water and more were turning up. There was also the team on the bank who were helping to retrieve the items from the water. One of the divers told me that there were still items in the mud that were to heavy to move. 

Dave the Lock Keeper
There were the usual shopping trolleys and I counted 31. But there were even more still to come out of the water. There was the odd 45 gallon oil drum, LPG gas container. Buckets and long lengths of copper stripped cables. There were wire hawser, bike frames, metal and plastic barriers. There was a large number of plastic motorway cones. However, the most unusual item was a laptop! All this debris was collected from a 300 metre length of canal. 

I had a good chat with a few of the divers while they had a tea break. But I did remember to remind them that there was only 2200 miles still left to do! They were such a good natured group, I think they would give it a go. Now, I wonder if we can get them to fix a few missing bolts from non operational lock paddles.
There was also a small team of additional helpers from the River Stewardship Company who are also based in Sheffield. they were loading up a large flat bed vehicle with the debris from the canal. There looked to be at least two loads when I left and there was stuff still coming out of the canal.

The effect was to attract large numbers of people to the canal towpath. There was quite a revelation for a lot of people about what actually gets dumped in the canal as well as the amount of it.

The River Stewardship Company (RSC) was established by a group of public and third sector partners including Sheffield City Council, Groundwork Sheffield, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, South Yorkshire Forest, Five Weirs Walk Trust and Upper Don Walk Trust.

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