Volunteer led clean up for Medway’s rubbish filled riverbanks

Litter and plastic waste washing up on the River Medway is raising concerns due to the risk it poses to the local wildlife and public safety in the area. Local environmental conservation group, River Revival, is now reaching out for people to get involved to help clear the area.

Rubbish piling up on Medway’s riverbanks seems is a recurring problem. This particular area is home to a wide array of wildlife, including seals that often come to bathe at the water’s edge, and so keeping it clean is key to ensuring their safety. 

It also presents an issue for local residents as Redrow’s new housing estate sits directly beside the riverbank and there is clear public access to the area.  

The problem was brought to the attention of River Revival, run by Jack Roberts and his brother, by a concerned local resident. 

They are now taking matters into their own hands and are organising a volunteer led clean-up on Saturday the 15th of February. 

They will be funded the clean-up themselves and will be supplying refreshments for volunteers along with bags for picking up rubbish.

Jack explains, “Unfortunately on this corner, wherever it’s coming from, it’s building up quite rapidly around here.”

Due to the large amount of rubbish he hopes to see a good turn out of people on the day. “It would be amazing for people to get involved just to help the local community and to help the wildlife.” Adding, “there’s a lot to clear so the more people who get involved the better.”

The problem seems to be widespread across Kent with many waterways being littered with plastic and glass that washes up onto the banks. 

It was only last year that River Revival did a similar clean up further down the river. But it may already need clearing again from how quickly rubbish is being washed up or dumped along the riverbank.

Jack notes, “looking down there now it seems to be that people have chucked more rubbish in there which is a shame.”

“We’ll need to go back down there at some stage.”

River Revival with student volunteers at their last event in Canterbury

The issue is below the waters edge as well. As Jack explains, “unfortunately in this particular area there is a lot that’s up on the banks but in other areas there’s a lot that’s under the water.”

It is a constant struggle for such a small group like River Revival to keep on top of the constant supply of rubbish building up in these areas and sorely lack support from the Council or the Environment Agency despite having reached out to both. Jack says, “it just looks like an absolute eyesore, clearly the council aren’t doing anything so this is where we step in.”

Jack explains, “I’d love for more people to get involved, so far it’s all out of our own pockets.”

The only money River Revival makes is through any profits made from the reusable bottles, straws and Q-tips they sell to reduce single use plastics. This is then spent on safety equipment and anything else needed for future river clean ups.

We tried to contact Medway Council but they were unable to provide us with a comment at the time.


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