NORTHUMBRIAN Water has thrown its weight behind a community effort to rejuvenate the riverbanks of one of the region's best-loved waterways.
The Tees Tidy Up is taking place this week, between March 15-18, and will see scores of volunteers don their Wellingtons to tackle the rubbish that has accumulated along sections of the banks of the Tees and some of its tributaries.
Organised by the Tees Rivers Trust and River Tees Rediscovered, the event is in its second year, having proved a huge success in 2017, when volunteers removed a cornucopia of rubbish and abandoned objects. The objects included a hoover, e-book, a worn-out tractor tyre, a range of clothing, underwear and shoes!
The utility company is backing the event for the second year running, offering employees time to join in as part of their community Just an Hour scheme, along with a helping hand from some of their volunteer Water Rangers who help protect 56 of the region's watercourses and bathing waters more prone to pollution.
Northumbrian Water's Wastewater Director Richard Warneford, said: "While it's a real shame that this type of clean up work is necessary, it provides us with a fantastic opportunity to go out and support the communities we serve.
"Last year's event was such a success, we didn't think twice about getting involved this time around and giving a helping hand.
"The North East is such a beautiful region, we owe it to ourselves to keep it as pristine as we possibly can. It's fantastic to see communities, organisations and key partners working together to clean up the riverbanks of the Tees.
"A team of Northumbrian Water volunteers and some of our volunteer Water Rangers will take to Hemlington Lake in Middlesbrough on Thursday and Cocker Beck in Darlington on Friday to muck in, along with a host of community groups at other locations over the course of the week."
The Tees Tidy Up event will bring together key partners, community groups, local businesses and environmentally-conscious individuals.
Tees Rivers Trust Project Officer Zoe Fraser, said: "The Tees Tidy Up is an event that aims to address a real issue on the River Tees and worldwide. We want to reduce the amount of litter entering the river and into our seas, to do our bit to address the issue of marine litter.
"Last year was the very first Tees Tidy Up and we received a massively positive response, so I'm really pleased we are doing it again this year to tackle the ongoing problem head on.
"Last year 253 volunteers removed over 400 bags of rubbish from the banks of Tees, along stretches that are among some of the most attractive areas in the region. Hopefully we can do even better this year!"
The Tees Tidy Up event will help to reduce the amount of litter entering the region's waterways. It coincides with Northumbrian Water's Refill campaign that encourages people to ditch single use water bottles and use a refillable bottle instead.
Refill is all about reducing the amount of plastic waste that is produced in the North East, helping to protect the environment and encouraging people to drink Northumbrian Water's clean, clear and great tasting tap water.
To find out more information visit >> http://www.refill.org.uk/ or download the Refill app today.
To find out more about the Tees Tidy Up event visit >> http://teesriverstrust.org/