On Saturday 3rd Feb we assembled for a community clean-up of the area around the weir behind the tip on Thornhill Road. We were made up of a number of community groups and individuals from around Dewsbury all with a common goal.
The idea came about when I posted a photo of a bunch of ducks swimming through litter in the river on social media. A local resident then commented that it would be nice if we were able to clear the area up for them which I thought was a great idea. Having set about searching for the responsible party for this stretch of river I discovered that it is classed as ‘derelict’, so not cared for by the Canal and River Trust and not the responsibility of the council. The Environmental Agency stated that they would only step in if the issue posed a flood risk, which it didn’t. This issue would be down to the community to repair.
As I searched for groups I discovered ‘Kumon Y’all’ and noticed that they had a history of getting involved in clearing litter from waterways. Luckily Farook from Kumon Y’all had seen my post and called me up. We discussed the issue and headed to visit the site. On inspection it was far worse than I had even imagined. Farook has lifelong connections to the area from playing nearby as a child to bringing his children to the area. His enthusiasm was contagious and we decided to make a clean-up event as soon as possible, the coming Saturday!
We set about organising the event, carried out risk assessments and spread the word. The day was damp and cold but that did not put anyone off getting the job done. We were joined by GoDewsbury, Friends of Rectory Park, Kirklees Adventure, Pennine Canoe and Rowing Club as well as local political figures and residents. We even had delicious flapjack made for us by a caring resident. We managed to collect 122 bags of litter in just a couple of hours and made a stark difference to the area. It was great to see a wide range of the community coming together to work for a common cause.
As the Weir clear was such a great success and made such a large difference to the area we hope to be able to work on many more projects in the future. The idea is that from all those who attend the events one person or group will be chosen to decide on the next job. It would be amazing if this could be a monthly occuring event.
Community Environment and Waste Advisor