Medway’s coastline is set to undergo a long-term clean-up thanks to a joint partnership that will launch at Medway’s premier food and drink festival later this month.
Chatham Maritime Trust, charity Living River Foundation and MDL, who run Chatham Marina, are joining forces in a bid to clear the Chatham Maritime Peninsular and surrounding areas of waste and rubbish.
The Litter Free Maritime project will be tackling the litter problem across the estate with the community and businesses, using innovative technologies and methods as well as collecting more of the rubbish that has entered the environment.
The project will officially launch at the Food and Drink Festival at Chatham Maritime that takes place from Saturday, 26 May to Monday, 28 May. Local residents or businesses keen on helping are asked to come along and meet the team during the festivities.
Living River Foundation director Tanya Ferry said: “We are really excited at this opportunity to work with CMT and MDL to make some positive changes to our waterways and surrounding areas.
“We are looking forward to working with the local community and businesses on this important environmental issue.”
Like many areas of the UK, the Chatham Maritime Peninsular suffers from discarded litter and everyday waste and in similar fashion to other coastlines, this enters the water of the docks and nearby estuary.
Once it has been released into the water it is much harder to collect and causes damage to the environment. Some items will remain for more than 400 years.
The Litter Free Maritime partnership aims to increase and improve collection of this rubbish in the local waterbodies, while also working with local businesses and the community to reduce the production of waste locally and improve the capture of waste where it is produced.
To start the project, the organisations joined together with the local community and businesses during the Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean for a litter pick around the foreshore and path, collecting 14 bags of litter – mainly comprising of food wrappers, polystyrene and cigarette stubs.
MDL and CMT are supporting the project through funding, while wider finances are being sought elsewhere as the project develops. Activities will include monitoring of the area, including the waterways, regular litter collections, education and interventions with local businesses and the implementation of a passive collector – made from recycled plastics – to be placed across a windward area of the marina to collect and hold litter in the area ready for staff to clear.
The team will be at a stand during the Food and Drink Festival 2019 where any interested businesses and local residents can meet them and find out more about getting involved.
Julian Perry, Chief Executive of Chatham Maritime Trist said: “Living River’s Litter Free Maritime project, supported by Chatham Maritime Trust, is an excellent initiative working with the community and local businesses to reduce the risk of litter and to promote fauna and wildlife.
“It is encouraging local people and community groups to get involved in hands-on litter removal and raises awareness of the problem that we all face. It also fits in with regional and national campaigns to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle. We can all take positive steps, however small, to help improve our environment.”
Community volunteer Charlotte Ralph added: “Having lived on St Mary’s Island since 2004, I’ve come to realise what a special place it is, not just because of all the residents and organisations that care for the area but because of our place in the delicate ecosystem of the River Medway. As such, I began to notice that the waste issues we read about in the media were also affecting us here on St Mary’s Island. Plastic and other rubbish collecting in the river was particularly disturbing and I felt I wanted to act and help find solutions to this global problem.
“Taking part in this litter pick with my family as a Volunteer Ambassador for LRF meant I was able to reach my goal and by working with these inspiring organisations I hope future events mean those in our community will be able to get involved in helping to repair and protect our environment.”
Anyone interested in finding out more can go to the Living River Foundation website at http://living-river.org/or email email@example.com details. To find out more about the Food and Drink Festival, please go to https://www.cmtrust.co.uk/play/food-and-drink-festival
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