Volunteers from Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding joined forces for a litter clean-up walk along the River Adur, as their version of the Great British Beach Clean.
The walk was organised as part of Greening Steyning’s Plastic Free campaign, linked with the national Plastic Free Communities initiative led by Surfers Against Sewage.
Ann Blakelock, organiser, explained: “Environmental groups along the coast have been organising beach cleans. We don’t have our own beach but we do have a stretch of river that’s really precious to everyone living nearby.”
Armed with grabbers, bin bags and gloves, and with dogs and young children in tow, the group set off last Saturday from the Bramber footbridge and scoured the riverbank all the way down to the A283 road bridge.
John Griffin, vice-chairman of Steyning and District Business Chamber and one of the Plastic Free campaign co-ordinators, said: “The litter gods were with us. When we got to the A283, we found the road was closed for bridge repairs, so we were able to switch focus and give the road verges a good going over.
“And there were enough people on hand to give Bramber Castle the treatment, too.”
Volunteers were surprised to find a large number of dog waste bags, hung on branches and fences or tossed into the bushes and they asked themselves why people do this, as it is not helping.
Also among the rubbish were beer cans, ice cream wrappers, plastic bottles, wrappers and a discarded picnic blanket.
Sue Glover, from the Steyning volunteer litter picking group, said: “It turned out that the riverbank was fairly free from litter, despite the spring high tide. There were some litter hot spots, though, where the story was very different, notably around bridges and car parks.”
Walkers are urged to get into the habit of taking a bag and some gloves whenever they go out, so they can pick up any rubbish they see.
Ronnie Reed, Greening Steyning member, said: “The event really showed what a small group of people can do to clean up our environment. It’s our countryside after all and we all need to take responsibility for keeping it clean.”
For more information on the Plastic Free campaign in Steyning, Bramber and Beeding, see www.1010steyning.org