Wombles of the Wensum take to the water to help clean up Norwich river

Richard Bearman (left) from the Norwich Green Party taking part in River Wensum clean-up. PIC: Peter

Richard Bearman (left) from the Norwich Green Party taking part in River Wensum clean-up. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

The Wombles famously went underground and over ground in their bid to tidy up Wimbledon common but the Wombles of the Wensum have hit the water in their clean-up bid.

Andrew Bryant (left) and Christine Marr taking part in Norwich river clean up. PIC: Peter Walsh

Andrew Bryant (left) and Christine Marr taking part in Norwich river clean up. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

An selfless band of volunteers were given gloves and litter grabbers and joined Norwich Green Party members in canoes to help clear litter from the River Wensum on Saturday (October 21).

More than 40 people took part in the unusual litter collection, which also took place on foot along the banks of the Wensum, including Canon Andrew Bryant who works at Norwich Cathedral.

He said: 'I live locally and want to see the area looking as clean and tidy as possible both for us who live here and for visitors and to keep Norwich looking as attractive as we can.'

Another volunteer, Christine Marr, 66, who also lives in the area, said: 'All this will end up in the sea and we've got to try and keep the seas clean.

'It makes it more attractive for everyone - who wants to see litter everywhere?'

Lesley Grahame, Green councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward, said it had been a 'fantastic' turn-out.

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She said: 'Plastics thrown into the river are part of the massive global contamination problem that's so damaging to fish stock and other marine life. We believe in building communities and a litter-pick like this offers a great opportunity for everyone to get involved.'

The clean-up, which also involved the Pub and Paddle Rivercare volunteer group, was part of a larger Norwich Green Party campaign to reduce the amount of plastic people use and throw away.

Martin Schmierer, leader of the Green Group on Norwich City Council, said: 'People are waking up to the dangers of single-use plastics.

'The good news is that there are affordable and greener alternatives such as plant based food packaging'. Councillor Schmierer proposed a successful motion to the council in September 2016, requesting that its use of single-use plastics be phased out.'

Norwich Greens have also asked the city council to investigate the bulk buying of recyclable beakers, food trays and paper bags for offering at cost price to stall holders on Norwich market.

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