Sean Dudden had seen some things in his life but he just could not bare to see the Somer river running through his town in Midsomer Norton choked to a trickle with a whopping 150kgs plus of waste plastic. Not only that but the acidity level of the river had registered an unacceptable level of 3 with 7 being the normal state of fresh water below the plastic dam.
I became friends online with Sean when I noticed his superhuman efforts cleaning out the river flowing through his village in Northern Somerset. He passionately spoke on his video of his hard work and efforts to get the council and others to do something about the waste problem. But what I really admired is that he wasn’t waiting for bureaucracy to do something he was in the river sorting it out without a moment to lose and sharing his discoveries with anyone who would listen.
I asked Sean why he was doing this.
“I started to clearing the rubbish now because when I was 19 I hitched hiked 5000 miles across the Australian outback from Darwin to Perth and back again before returning home to the UK and it had a profound effect on me. The outback was my inspiration as well as my unique experience out there. I believe we are one with the planet as aboriginal culture says and that we are part of our would and we live in the the world and not on it. Also after travelling the world and returning back to Midsomer Norton where part of my family lived and others still live it seemed like a good place to start my campaign and my war on rubbish I’m 49 now and I really wanted to put some thing back into the planet.”
“My other inspiration for doing what in doing is the news and the state of things. I just could not rest and let it slide I had to do some thing. I’m a country person. I was born in Frome and I grew up in Great Elm with the trees and rivers. I grew up and I dont remember plastic everywhere as a child. So much has changed in 40 years in Somerset in England, it’s such a big plastic mess every where. I have been to over 63 countries in the world and every where I have been I’ve seen the same plastic. I remember it all. I’m doing this for the countries I’ve visited and the people I have met. It’s my payback. I also wanted to clear the rubbish to inspire others to do the same in their area. If we all did this we all could clean this mess up.”
I asked Sean what types of plastic he had found in the river so far
“Plastic bottles and chip containers and cans the most, plastic balls, plastic bottle tops. The rubbish is diffrent depending on where you find it, nature separates it. The list of things I find is endless, basically any plastic item we use today I find.”
Sean found as well as 6 buckets of litter and 8 plastic bags of plastic waste: Two footballs, 59 plastic bottles, 32 cans, four rubber ducks, a TV stand, two babies dummies, six cigarette lighters, seven flower tubs, a bike frame, two needles, 45 polystyrene food containers, one dead duck and two other dead birds.
Sean even found an old plastic doll I placed as the feature picture for this piece at the bottom of the huge plastic dam of rubbish that was removed from the area of river he has cleaned so far.
Sean has big plans to clean out a large section of the river and he is encouraging everyone else to lend a hand.
‘I’m going to clean 5 miles of river. That’s my target. I’ve done 1/2 mile already and pulled over 150 kilos of rubbish from it.”
Wonderful things have started to happen in the short time that the plastic was removed from the river.
I was so pleased to see how much cleaner the river had become in such a small amount of time watching Sean’s posts on his groups page “Say No to Plastic”.
Sean told me “I nearly cried when I saw the fish and that was our reward for our work. If the fish are happy I’m happy!”
The PH has returned to 7 which is what a fresh water stream should be. Fish have returned to the water and also a kingfisher in the area that once was a toxic pile of predominantly plastic waste. Locals have commented on how much nicer the river in their town is looking and Sean has inspired a lot of press and interest from his dedicated work. He has also organised rubbish pick ups and rally’s encouraging the community to help him.
Sean is doing this all out of his own pocket with no funding at all. He has posted a go fund me so if you want to help this man keep up the good work throw a few bucks his way. He’s not sitting around talking about it, he’s doing!
This is a link to Sean’s Go Fund Me page in the UK. https://www.gofundme.com/f/plastic-river-waste-clearance-somerset?rcid=r01-156749973392-51a7c60ebf3d4b97&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m&fbclid=IwAR3wAfU5YKbzPrpnI1ifUeVEcfF9JiwmqR9Fds_DDVNThgms5fWe1gWVRLY
I watch with great pleasure a man 12,000 miles away on the other side of the world who cares and is doing something about things. You too can do simple things like this and make a big difference to the plastic waste pollution in your community. Let me know what you are planning to do to help your area. I would love to hear from any readers. Please feel free to write and tell me what you are doing to help the planet and to go plastic free as much as you can.