Captain's log makes for a clean river

Posted: Tuesday 22nd May 2012
Blog: News

North East businesses and organisations are being asked to help keep the River Tyne clean and safe for vessels to navigate on as part of a North East environmental project.

The Clean Tyne Project is a partnership between the Port of Tyne and the river’s bordering council authorities of Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Newcastle. The project aims to clean up the river and raise public awareness of environmental issues.

photoNow in its sixth year, the project regularly surveys the entire navigable length of the river from Tynemouth / South Shields and as far up river as Newburn / Ryton to identify where rubbish accumulates.  Once the survey data is analyised, the project can determine where to concentrate its clean up efforts. This is done in two ways, firstly by employing the debris collection vessel Clearwater to move large objects such as tree trunks and even cars and secondly by getting volunteers from local businesses to take part in clean up sessions called River Bank Raids.

Clean Tyne Project manager Jayne Calvert from Gateshead Council urged local businesses to get involved.

“River Bank Raids are an excellent way of putting something back into the community at the same time as doing a worthwhile, environmentally friendly task,” she said. “The teamwork we see from firms is amazing and everyone really enjoys the challenge as well as the satisfaction of seeing a small part of the river totally transformed.”

There are currently eight bank raid slots available between May and October, two in each council area. Businesses are requested to donate a minimum of £350 towards the cost of organising the event which includes refreshments, health and safety facilities, marketing and a framed certificate.

“It’s amazing what we find on bank raids, “said Jayne. “ We’ve pulled out safes, ammunition, a horse’s skull and silverware; however most of the debris is driftwood and plastic.”

The project’s debris collection vessel, Clearwater has recently lifted a number of very large tree trunks from the river which were causing an obstruction to small boats using the navigation channels.

“Some of the objects our crew pull from the river are like icebergs with only the tips showing above the waterline,” said Jayne. “The tree trunks we have recently pulled out of the river can do terrible damage to small boats if they collide.”

Once wood and debris is pulled out of the river everything is recycled reinforcing the projects green credentials.

For more information contact Jayne Calvert on 0191 4333524