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Our blue planet

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The Wanstead Society and the South Woodford Society have joined forces to raise awareness of and take action over the litter problem at Eagle Pond in Snaresbrook. Scott Wilding reports. Photography by Geoff Wilkinson

Most of us have seen, or heard, about the BBC’s series Blue Planet. This groundbreaking programme highlighted the link between the plastics we throw away, which then enter the oceans, and the damage they do to our wildlife.

We have our own blue planet on our doorstep. Eagle Pond, off Snaresbrook Road, like all wet habitats in the area, has suffered this summer as a result of the long dry spell, low oxygen levels and litter. Just like the turtles and whales in the oceans, the local wildlife suffers just as much with the plastics and litter that enter the ponds here, or in Wanstead Park.

That’s why the Wanstead Society and the South Woodford Society are working with local people, the council and the City of London to highlight this issue and promote a three-step approach to removing this waste.

Get the public to take their litter home
Unless we all take responsibility for where we live, we can never cure the root cause of this problem. Just take your litter home with you and recycle it if you can. Most responsible people do just that. But we hope that by raising awareness of what discarded plastic does to our local wildlife, those that don’t can understand what happens. Some plastics never biodegrade, and if they get digested by fish, swans and other birds, they cause them pain and can ultimately kill them. By taking litter home, we not only make where we live a better place, but help local wildlife thrive as well.

Action days to clean up the ponds
Eagle Pond is owned by the City of London and is their responsibility to maintain. The Wanstead Society and the South Woodford Society have offered to work with local people and the council to help clean the site and our first action day took place on 1 September. Although this will help in the short term, it’s only a small sticking plaster unless we can cure the root problem.

Improved cleansing and bin facilities along Snaresbrook Road
We are working with Redbridge Council to ensure the surrounding areas are clean. With the help of Councillor Blackman of Wanstead Village ward, we aim to ensure the surrounding roads have sufficient bin provision. The council can do little to the pond, but we can ensure the surrounding areas are kept litter-free to prevent litter blowing into the water, which they have promised to do.

We are lucky to have so much green space and wetland wildlife in Wanstead and South Woodford, but we all need to take steps to ensure it thrives and has a plastic-free life. We can’t directly ensure the Pacific or Atlantic are 100% waste-free, but together we can make a real difference to our local wildlife, which is just as important.

Eagle Pond is situated in the north-west corner of Leyton Flats, bounded by Snaresbrook Road on the north and the grounds of Snaresbrook Crown Court on the south. For more information, visit swvg.co/eaglepond or email e18society@gmail.com

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