Environmentalists are urging litter louts and fly tippers to alter course after a clean-up of a Jarrow river netted everything but the kitchen sink.
Three bikes, two children’s scooters, a bar stool, mattress and even a soccer games table were recovered from just a 200-metre stretch of Monkton Burn.
Volunteers working with the Tyne Rivers Trust also filled 53 refuse sacks with discarded crisp packets and sweet wrappers during their three-and-a-half-hour operation.
Worryingly, they say they only touched the surface and plenty of years-old trash could be seen trapped on the burn’s floor.
They say much of it has been there so long it is starting to degrade, putting fish and other wildlife in danger.
The initiative was part of Keep Britain Tidy’s national Great British Spring Clean, which aims to inspire 500,000 people to spruce up parks, rivers, streets and beaches.
Jenny Elliott, volunteer coordinator for the Tyne Rivers Trust, said: “I think it is the case that people don’t realise the harm their actions are doing to the environment.
“It’s very disappointing that so much rubbish was found in such a small area of the burn, and there was a lot that we could see but couldn’t get to.
“Sadly, we’ve cleaned this stretch before and it was just the same then – we knew what to expect. The site needs a bigger operation.
“As usual for this area we had a strong turn-out of people willing to lend a hand, and the results are fantastic.
“Rubbish dumped in the river kills our wildlife and ruins habitat for the plants and animals that live there.
“We want the river to thrive, as a better river supports a better region and better life for everyone.”
The Trust has reduced the number of barriers to fish migrating upstream and improved the habitat and water quality so aquatic life can thrive.
It works with schoolchildren and communities that live along the river, helping future generations to understand its value.
Sunday’s clean-up was the second Great British Spring Clean event the trust has held in Jarrow, after one at Primrose Nature Reserve two weeks ago.
To volunteer for future events, contact Jenny on 01434 636 900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org